Recent studies have shown that interindividual variability can be a rich source of information regarding the mechanism of human visual perception. In this study, we examined the mechanisms underlying interindividual variability in the perception of visual motion, one of the fundamental components of visual scene analysis, by measuring neurotransmitter concentrations using magnetic resonance spectroscopy. First, by psychophysically examining two types of motion phenomena—motion assimilation and contrast—we found that, following the presentation of the same stimulus, some participants perceived motion assimilation, while others perceived motion contrast. Furthermore, we found that the concentration of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate–glutamine (Glx) in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann area 46) was positively correlated with the participant's tendency to motion assimilation over motion contrast; however, this effect was not observed in the visual areas. The concentration of the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid had only a weak effect compared with that of Glx. We conclude that excitatory process in the suprasensory area is important for an individual's tendency to determine antagonistically perceived visual motion phenomena.
This article is part of the themed issue ‘Auditory and visual scene analysis'.
- Accepted September 1, 2016.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.