The motion reverse correlation (MRC) method:: A linear systems approach in the motion domain

Bart G. Borghuis*, János A. Perge, Ildikó Vajda, Richard J.A. Van Wezel, Wim A. Van De Grind, Martin J.M. Lankheet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce the motion reverse correlation method (MRC), a novel stimulus paradigm based on a random sequence of motion impulses. The method is tailored to investigate the spatio-temporal dynamics of motion selectivity in cells responding to moving random dot patterns. Effectiveness of the MRC method is illustrated with results obtained from recordings in both anesthetized cats and an awake, fixating macaque monkey. Motion tuning functions are computed by reverse correlating the response of single cells with a rapid sequence of displacements of a random pixel array (RPA). Significant correlations between the cell's responses and various aspects of stimulus motion are obtained at high temporal resolution. These correlations provide a detailed description of the temporal dynamics of, for example, direction tuning and velocity tuning. In addition, with a spatial array of independently moving RPAs, the MRC method can be used to measure spatial as well as temporal receptive field properties. We demonstrate that MRC serves as a powerful and time-efficient tool for quantifying receptive field properties of motion selective cells that yields temporal information that cannot be derived from existing methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Area MT
  • Cat
  • Direction selectivity
  • Monkey
  • Motion vision
  • Reverse correlation
  • Visual cortex

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