The role of human ventral visual cortex in motion perception
Visual motion perception is fundamental to many aspects of visual perception. Visual motion perception has long been associated with the dorsal (parietal) pathway and the involvement of the ventral ‘form’ (temporal) visual pathway has not been considered critical for normal motion perception. Here, we evaluated this view by examining whether circumscribed damage to ventral visual cortex impaired motion perception. The perception of motion in basic, non-form tasks (motion coherence and motion detection) and complex structure-from-motion, for a wide range of motion speeds, all centrally displayed, was assessed in five patients with a circumscribed lesion to either the right or left ventral visual pathway. Patients with a right, but not with a left, ventral visual lesion displayed widespread impairments in central motion perception even for non-form motion, for both slow and for fast speeds, and this held true independent of the integrity of areas MT/V5, V3A or parietal regions. In contrast with the traditional view in which only the dorsal visual stream is critical for motion perception, these novel findings implicate a more distributed circuit in which the integrity of the right ventral visual pathway is also necessary even for the perception of non-form motion.