Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Neural processing of imminent collision in humans

By J. Billington, R. M. Wilkie, D. Field and J. P. Wann


Detecting a looming object and its imminent collision is imperative to survival. For most humans, it is a fundamental aspect of daily activities such as driving, road crossing and participating in sport, yet little is known about how the brain both detects and responds to such stimuli. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to assess neural response to looming stimuli in comparison with receding stimuli and motion-controlled static stimuli. We demonstrate for the first time that, in the human, the superior colliculus and the pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus respond to looming in addition to cortical regions associated with motor preparation. We also implicate the anterior insula in making timing computations for collision events

Publisher: The Royal Society
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2003). A direct projection from superior colliculus to substantia nigra for detecting salient visual events.
  2. (1976). A theory of visual control of braking based on information about time to collision.
  3. (1988). Behavior Evoked by Electrical-Stimulation of the Hamster Superior Colliculus.
  4. (1998). Computation of different optical variables of looming objects in pigeon nucleus rotundus neurons.
  5. (1977). Development of sensitivity to information for impending collision. doi
  6. (2009). Functional imaging of the human superior colliculus: An optimised approach. doi
  7. (2009). How do you feel - now? The anterior insula and human awareness.
  8. (2006). Human parietal cortex in action.
  9. (2010). Judgements of time to contact are affected by the rate of appearance of visible texture.
  10. (1984). Multimodal representation in the superior colliculus and optic tectum.
  11. (2007). Neural correlates of error awareness.
  12. (1994). Neural substrate of defensive behaviour in the midbrain tectum.
  13. (2005). Perceiving time to collision activates the sensorimotor cortex.
  14. (2007). Pulvinar contributions to the dorsal and ventral streams of visual processing in primates.
  15. (2000). Spatiotopic organization in human superior colliculus observed with fMRI.
  16. (2009). Spike frequency adaptation mediates looming stimulus selectivity in a collision-detecting neuron.
  17. (2006). Stimulus intensity modifies saccadic reaction time and visual response latency in the superior colliculus.
  18. (2005). Tectal neurons signal impending collision of looming objects in the pigeon. doi
  19. (1999). The basal ganglia: A vertebrate solution to the selection problem?
  20. (2000). The primate pulvinar nuclei: vision and action.
  21. (2007). Time perception: Manipulation of task difficulty dissociates clock functions from other cognitive demands.
  22. (1992). Time to collision is signalled by neurons in the nucleus rotundus of pigeons. doi
  23. (2008). Using time-to-contact information to assess potential collision modulates both visual and temporal prediction networks.
  24. (2004). Visual attnetion as a multilevel selection process.
  25. (1958). Visually controlled locomotion and visual orientation in animals.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.