The middle-temporal area (MT) of primate visual cortex is critical in the analysis of visual motion. Single-unit studies suggest that the response dynamics of neurons within area MT depend on stimulus features, but how these dynamics emerge at the population level, and how feature representations interact, is not clear. Here, we used multivariate classification analysis to study how stimulus features are represented in the spiking activity of populations of neurons in area MT of marmoset monkey. Using representational similarity analysis we distinguished the emerging representations of moving grating and dot field stimuli. We show that representations of stimulus orientation, spatial frequency, and speed are evident near the onset of the population response, while the representation of stimulus direction is slower to emerge and sustained throughout the stimulus-evoked response. We further found a spatiotemporal asymmetry in the emergence of direction representations. Representations for high spatial frequencies and low temporal frequencies are initially orientation dependent, while those for high temporal frequencies and low spatial frequencies are more sensitive to motion direction. Our analyses reveal a complex interplay of feature representations in area MT population response that may explain the stimulus-dependent dynamics of motion vision.
- multivariate pattern classification analysis
- representational similarity analysis
- visual motion