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Daniel Cohen, Erin Goddard, Kathy T. Mullen; Reevaluating hMT+ and hV4 functional specialization for motion and static contrast using fMRI-guided repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation. Journal of Vision 2019;19(3):11. doi: 10.1167/19.3.11.
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Although visual areas hMT+ and hV4 are considered to have segregated functions for the processing of motion and form within dorsal and ventral streams, respectively, more recent evidence favors some functional overlap. Here we use fMRI-guided online repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to test two associated hypotheses: that area hV4 is causally involved in the perception of motion and hMT+ in the perception of static form. We use variations of a common global stimulus to test two dynamic motion-based tasks and two static form-based tasks in ipsilateral and contralateral visual fields. We find that rTMS to both hMT+ and hV4 significantly impairs direction discrimination and causes a perceptual slowing of motion, implicating hV4 in motion perception. Stimulation of hMT+ impairs motion in both visual fields, implying that disruption to one hMT+ disrupts the other with both needed for optimal performance. For the second hypothesis, we find the novel result that hV4 stimulation markedly reduces perceived contrast of a static stimulus. hMT+ stimulation also produces an effect, implicating it in static contrast perception. Our findings are the first to show that rTMS of hV4 can produce a large perceptual effect and, taken together, suggest a less rigid functional segregation between hMT+ and hV4 than previously thought.
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