Separate spatial and temporal frequency tuning to visual motion in human MT+ measured with ECoG

Anna Gaglianese, Ben M. Harvey, Mariska J. Vansteensel, Serge O. Dumoulin, Nick F. Ramsey*, Natalia Petridou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The human middle temporal complex (hMT+) has a crucial biological relevance for the processing and detection of direction and speed of motion in visual stimuli. Here, we characterized how neuronal populations in hMT+ encode the speed of moving visual stimuli. We evaluated human intracranial electrocorticography (ECoG) responses elicited by square-wave dartboard moving stimuli with different spatial and temporal frequency to investigate whether hMT+ neuronal populations encode the stimulus speed directly, or whether they separate motion into its spatial and temporal components. We extracted two components from the ECoG responses: (1) the power in the high-frequency band (HFB: 65–95 Hz) as a measure of the neuronal population spiking activity and (2) a specific spectral component that followed the frequency of the stimulus's contrast reversals (SCR responses). Our results revealed that HFB neuronal population responses to visual motion stimuli exhibit distinct and independent selectivity for spatial and temporal frequencies of the visual stimuli rather than direct speed tuning. The SCR responses did not encode the speed or the spatiotemporal frequency of the visual stimuli. We conclude that the neuronal populations measured in hMT+ are not directly tuned to stimulus speed, but instead encode speed through separate and independent spatial and temporal frequency tuning. Hum Brain Mapp 38:293–307, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-307
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • hMT+
  • human electrocorticography
  • neuronal population responses
  • speed encoding
  • visual motion


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