Survival in the natural environment often relies on an animal’s ability to quickly and accurately predict the trajectories of moving objects. Motion prediction is primarily understood in the context of translational motion, but the environment contains other types of behaviorally salient motion, such as that produced by approaching or receding objects. However, the neural mechanisms that detect and predictively encode these motion types remain unclear. Here, we address these questions in the macaque monkey retina. We report that four of the parallel output pathways in the primate retina encode predictive information about the future trajectory of moving objects. Predictive encoding occurs both for translational motion and for higher-order motion patterns found in natural vision. Further, predictive encoding of these motion types is nearly optimal with transmitted information approaching the theoretical limit imposed by the stimulus itself. These findings argue that natural selection has emphasized encoding of information that is relevant for anticipating future properties of the environment.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience