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Differential effect of visual motion adaptation upon visual cortical excitability

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Author: Lubeck, A.J.A. · Ombergen, A. van · Ahmad, H. · Bos, J.E. · Wuyts, F.L. · Bronstein, A. · Arshad, Q.
Publisher: American Physiological Society
Source:Journal of Neurophysiology, 3, 117, 903-909
Identifier: 574771
doi: doi:10.1152/jn.00655.2016
Keywords: Biology · Visual motion adaptation · Early visual cortex · V5/MT · Visual dependency · Cortical excitability · Transcranial magnetic stimulation · Human & Operational Modelling · PCS - Perceptual and Cognitive Systems · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences


The objectives of this study were 1) to probe the effects of visual motion adaptation on early visual and V5/MT cortical excitability and 2) to investigate whether changes in cortical excitability following visual motion adaptation are related to the degree of visual dependency, i.e., an overreliance on visual cues compared with vestibular or proprioceptive cues. Participants were exposed to a roll motion visual stimulus before, during, and after visual motion adaptation. At these stages, 20 transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pulses at phosphene threshold values were applied over early visual and V5/MT cortical areas from which the probability of eliciting a phosphene was calculated. Before and after adaptation, participants aligned the subjective visual vertical in front of the roll motion stimulus as a marker of visual dependency. During adaptation, early visual cortex excitability decreased whereas V5/MT excitability increased. After adaptation, both early visual and V5/MT excitability were increased. The roll motion-induced tilt of the subjective visual vertical (visual dependence) was not influenced by visual motion adaptation and did not correlate with phosphene threshold or visual cortex excitability. We conclude that early visual and V5/MT cortical excitability is differentially affected by visual motion adaptation. Furthermore, excitability in the early or late visual cortex is not associated with an increase in visual reliance during spatial orientation. Our findings complement earlier studies that have probed visual cortical excitability following motion adaptation and highlight the differential role of the early visual cortex and V5/MT in visual motion processing.