Neural Representations of Visual Motion Processing in the Human Brain Using Laminar Imaging at 9.4 Tesla

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Dokumentart: Dissertation
Date: 2019-08-09
Language: English
Faculty: 7 Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Department: Biologie
Advisor: Bartels, Andreas (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2019-07-25
DDC Classifikation: 000 - Computer science, information and general works
500 - Natural sciences and mathematics
570 - Life sciences; biology
610 - Medicine and health
Keywords: Funktionelle Kernspintomografie , Visuelles System
Other Keywords:
efference copy
eye movements
ultra-high Field MRI
Visual Motion
multimodal integration
License: Publishing license including print on demand
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During natural behavior, much of the motion signal falling into our eyes is due to our own movements. Therefore, in order to correctly perceive motion in our environment, it is important to parse visual motion signals into those caused by self-motion such as eye- or head-movements and those caused by external motion. Neural mechanisms underlying this task, which are also required to allow for a stable perception of the world during pursuit eye movements, are not fully understood. Both, perceptual stability as well as perception of real-world (i.e. objective) motion are the product of integration between motion signals on the retina and efference copies of eye movements. The central aim of this thesis is to examine whether different levels of cortical depth or distinct columnar structures of visual motion regions are differentially involved in disentangling signals related to self-motion, objective, or object motion. Based on previous studies reporting segregated populations of voxels in high level visual areas such as V3A, V6, and MST responding predominantly to either retinal or extra- retinal (‘real’) motion, we speculated such voxels to reside within laminar or columnar functional units. We used ultra-high field (9.4T) fMRI along with an experimental paradigm that independently manipulated retinal and extra-retinal motion signals (smooth pursuit) while controlling for effects of eye-movements, to investigate whether processing of real world motion in human V5/MT, putative MST (pMST), and V1 is associated to differential laminar signal intensities. We also examined motion integration across cortical depths in human motion areas V3A and V6 that have strong objective motion responses. We found a unique, condition specific laminar profile in human area V6, showing reduced mid-layer responses for retinal motion only, suggestive of an inhibitory retinal contribution to motion integration in mid layers or alternatively an excitatory contribution in deep and superficial layers. We also found evidence indicating that in V5/MT and pMST, processing related to retinal, objective, and pursuit motion are either integrated or colocalized at the scale of our resolution. In contrast, in V1, independent functional processes seem to be driving the response to retinal and objective motion on the one hand, and to pursuit signals on the other. The lack of differential signals across depth in these regions suggests either that a columnar rather than laminar segregation governs these functions in these areas, or that the methods used were unable to detect differential neural laminar processing. Furthermore, the thesis provides a thorough analysis of the relevant technical modalities used for data acquisition and data analysis at ultra-high field in the context of laminar fMRI. Relying on our technical implementations we were able to conduct two high-resolution fMRI experiments that helped us to further investigate the laminar organization of self-induced and externally induced motion cues in human high-level visual areas and to form speculations about the site and the mechanisms of their integration.

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