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Previous reports of tactile responses in human visual area MT/V5 have used complex stimuli, such as a brush stroking the arm. These complex moving stimuli are likely to induce imagery of visual motion, which is known to be a powerful activator of MT. The area described as “MT” in previous reports consists of at least two distinct cortical areas, MT and MST. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we separately localized human MT and MST and measured their response to vibrotactile stimuli unlikely to induce imagery of visual motion. Strong vibrotactile responses were observed in MST but not in MT. Vibrotactile responses in MST were approximately one-half as large as the response to visual motion and were distinct from those in another visual area previously reported to respond to tactile stimulation, the lateral occipital complex. To examine somatotopic organization, we separately stimulated the left and right hand and foot. No spatial segregation between hand and foot responses was observed in MST. The average response profile of MST was similar to that of somatosensory cortex, with a strong preference for the contralateral hand. These results offer evidence for the existence of somatosensory responses in MST, but not MT, independent of imagery of visual motion.


This article was originally published in Journal of Neuroscience, available at

This work is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).



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