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
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