Sparse spatial sampling for the computation of motion in multiple stages

Alireza S. Mahani, Reza Khanbabaie, Harald Luksch, Ralf Wessel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The avian retino-tecto-rotundal pathway plays a central role in motion analysis and features complex connectivity. Yet, the relation between the pathway's structural arrangement and motion computation has remained elusive. For an important type of tectal wide-field neuron, the stratum griseum centrale type I (SGC-I) neuron, we quantified its structure and found a spatially sparse but extensive sampling of the retinal projection. A computational investigation revealed that these structural properties enhance the neuron's sensitivity to change, a behaviorally important stimulus attribute, while preserving information about the stimulus location in the SGC-I population activity. Furthermore, the SGC-I neurons project with an interdigitating topography to the nucleus rotundus, where the direction of motion is computed. We showed that, for accurate direction-of-motion estimation, the interdigitating projection of tectal wide-field neurons requires a two-stage rotundal algorithm, where the second rotundal stage estimates the direction of motion from the change in the relative stimulus position represented in the first stage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-287
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomy
  • Computation
  • Motion
  • Population coding
  • Tectum
  • Vision


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