The cortical areas activated by motion-defined contours were studied in humans using positron emission tomography (PET). Subjects observed four types of random dot fields, displayed through a 21°diam aperture: unidirectional motion of a translating dot field, motion in opposing directions of two superimposed translating fields, motion in opposing directions of dots in contiguous spatial regions (motion contrast), producing a square wave grating defined by motion, and luminance variation of stationary dots in contiguous spatial regions, producing a square wave grating defined by luminance. Relative to a static dot field, the unidirectional motion condition activated areas previously described, including areas 17/18, lateral temporal- occipital-parietal cortex (MT/MST), and the superior temporal sulcus. Motion- defined gratings increased the activation of areas 17/18 and MT/MST, but not the superior temporal sulcus, and added more dorsal areas in the cuneus, roughly corresponding to V3/V3a, and ventral areas in the lingual gyrus/collateral sulcus, roughly corresponding to V2/VP. Luminance defined gratings, relative to a static dot field, activated areas 17/18, regions in the dorsal cuneus similar to those activated by motion defined gratings, and a region near the left collateral sulcus, slightly lateral to the motion grating activation. They also activated a region in the right fusiform gyms that was more weakly activated by the motion grating. These results indicate that adding motion contrast to large moving fields increases activity in areas 17/18 and MT/MST and adds both dorsal and ventral regions that are similar for motion and luminance defined contours.