Visual cues about self-movement are derived from the patterns of optic flow and the relative motion of discrete objects. We recorded dorsal medial superior temporal (MSTd) cortical neurons in monkeys that held centered visual fixation while viewing optic flow and object motion stimuli simulating the self-movement cues seen during translation on a circular path. Twenty stimulus configurations presented naturalistic combinations of optic flow with superimposed objects that simulated either earth-fixed landmark objects or independently moving animate objects. Landmarks and animate objects yield the same response interactions with optic flow; mainly additive effects, with a substantial number of sub- and super-additive responses. Sub- and super-additive interactions reflect each neuron's local and global motion sensitivities: Local motion sensitivity is based on the spatial arrangement of directions created by object motion and the surrounding optic flow. Global motion sensitivity is based on the temporal sequence of self-movement headings that define a simulated path through the environment. We conclude that MST neurons' spatio-temporal response properties combine object motion and optic flow cues to represent self-movement in diverse, naturalistic circumstances.
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