The visual system is poorly sensitive to arbitrary accelerations, but accurately detects the effects of gravity on a target motion. Here we review behavioral and neuroimaging data about the neural mechanisms for dealing with object motion and egomotion under gravity. The results from several experiments show that the visual estimates of a target motion under gravity depend on the combination of a prior of gravity effects with on-line visual signals on target position and velocity. These estimates are affected by vestibular inputs, and are encoded in a visual-vestibular network whose core regions lie within or around the Sylvian fissure, and are represented by the posterior insula/retroinsula/temporo-parietal junction. This network responds both to target motions coherent with gravity and to vestibular caloric stimulation in human fMRI studies. Transient inactivation of the temporo-parietal junction selectively disrupts the interception of targets accelerated by gravity. © 2013 Lacquaniti, Bosco, Indovina, La Scaleia, Maffei, Moscatelli and Zago.
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