Functional connections between optic flow areas and navigationally responsive brain regions during goal-directed navigation
Recent computational models suggest that visual input from optic flow provides information about egocentric (navigator-centered) motion and influences firing patterns in spatially tuned cells during navigation. Computationally, self-motion cues can be extracted from optic flow during navigation. Despite the importance of optic flow to navigation, a functional link between brain regions sensitive to optic flow and brain regions important for navigation has not been established in either humans or animals. Here, we used a beta-series correlation methodology coupled with two fMRI tasks to establish this functional link during goal-directed navigation in humans. Functionally defined optic flow sensitive cortical areas V3A, V6, and hMT+ were used as seed regions. fMRI data was collected during a navigation task in which participants updated position and orientation based on self-motion cues to successfully navigate to an encoded goal location. The results demonstrate that goal-directed navigation requiring updating of position and orientation in the first person perspective involves a cooperative interaction between optic flow sensitive regions V3A, V6, and hMT+ and the hippocampus, retrosplenial cortex, posterior parietal cortex, and medial prefrontal cortex. These functional connections suggest a dynamic interaction between these systems to support goal-directed navigation.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Sherrill, K. R., Chrastil, E., Ross, R. S., Erdem, U. M., Hasselmo, M. E., Stern, C.E. (2015) Functional connections between optic flow areas and navigationally responsive brain regions during goal-directed navigation. Neuroimage, 118, 386-398. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.009