Evidence and counterevidence in motion perception

Jacob Duijnhouwer, Bart Krekelberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Sensory neurons gather evidence in favor of the specific stimuli to which they are tuned, but they could improve their sensitivity by also taking counterevidence into account. The Bours-Lankheet model for motion detection uses counterevidence that relies on a specific combination of the ON and OFF channels in the early visual system. Specifically, the model detects pairs of flashes that occur separated in space and time. If the flashes have the same contrast polarity, they are interpreted as evidence in favor of the corresponding motion. But if they have opposite contrasts, they are interpreted as evidence against it. This mechanism provides an explanation for reverse-phi (the perceived reversal of an apparent motion stimulus due to periodic contrastinversions) that is a conceptual departure from the standard explanations of the effect. Here, we investigate this counterevidence mechanism by measuring directional tuning curves of neurons in the primary visual and middle temporal cortex areas of awake, behaving macaques using constant-contrast and inverting-contrast moving dot stimuli. Our electrophysiological data support the Bours-Lankheet model and suggest that the counterevidence computation occurs at an early stage of neural processing not captured by the standard models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4602-4612
Number of pages11
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


  • Middle temporal cortex
  • Motion perception
  • Primary visual cortex
  • Reverse-phi motion
  • Single-unit recording


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