J Integr Neurosci. 2013 Sep;12(3):355-67 doi: 10.1142/S0219635213500210. 2013 Sep 10.

Dynamic cortical activity during the perception of three-dimensional object shape from two-dimensional random-dot motion

Iwaki S, Bonmassar G, Belliveau JW.


Recent neuroimaging studies implicate that both the dorsal and ventral visual pathways, as well as the middle temporal (MT) areas which are critical for the perception of visual motion, are involved in the perception of three-dimensional (3D) structure from two-dimensional (2D) motion (3D-SFM). However, the neural dynamics underlying the reconstruction of a 3D object from 2D optic flow is not known. Here we combined magnetoencephalography (MEG) and functional MRI (fMRI) measurements to investigate the spatiotemporal brain dynamics during 3D-SFM. We manipulated parametrically the coherence of randomly moving groups of dots to create different levels of 3D perception and to study the associated changes in brain activity. At different latencies, the posterior infero-temporal (pIT), the parieto-occipital (PO), and the intraparietal (IP) regions showed increased neural activity during highly coherent motion conditions in which subjects perceived a robust 3D object. Causality analysis between these regions indicated significant causal influence from IP to pIT and from pIT to PO only in conditions where subjects perceived a robust 3D object. Current results suggest that the perception of a 3D object from 2D motion includes integration of global motion and 3D mental image processing, as well as object recognition that are accomplished by interactions between the dorsal and ventral visual pathways.

PMID: 24070059