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Rebecca P. Lawson, Colin W. G. Clifford, Andrew J. Calder; A real head turner: Horizontal and vertical head directions are multichannel coded. Journal of Vision 2011;11(9):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/11.9.17.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Head direction is a salient cue to the focus of other people's attention. Electrophysiology in macaques has shown head-selective cells in the superior temporal sulcus that are mostly tuned to different directions (up, down, left, right, front, back, etc.). However, there has been no systematic investigation into the visual representation of head direction in both the horizontal (left–right) and vertical (up–down) planes in humans. We addressed whether the coding of head direction is best accounted for by a multichannel system, with distinct pools of cells (or channels) tuned to different head views (i.e., left, right, direct, up, and down), or an opponent-coding system with two broadly tuned pools of cells responding to two extremes (i.e., left–right and up–down) and “direct” represented as the equilibrium state in the system. In a series of four experiments, we carried out two adaptation procedures for which multichannel and opponent coding predict distinct outcomes. The results support multichannel coding of head direction in both the vertical and horizontal axes.
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