Performance monitoring by the supplementary eye field

Nature. 2000 Dec 14;408(6814):857-60. doi: 10.1038/35048576.


Intelligent behaviour requires self-control based on the consequences of actions. The countermanding task is designed to study self-control; it requires subjects to withhold planned movements in response to an imperative stop signal, which they can do with varying success. In humans, the medial frontal cortex has been implicated in the supervisory control of action. In monkeys, the supplementary eye field in the dorsomedial frontal cortex is involved in producing eye movements, but its precise function has not been clarified. To investigate the role of the supplementary eye field in the control of eye movements, we recorded neural activity in macaque monkeys trained to perform an eye movement countermanding task. Distinct groups of neurons were active after errors, after successful withholding of a partially prepared movement, or in association with reinforcement. These three forms of activation could not be explained by sensory or motor factors. Our results lead us to put forward the hypothesis that the supplementary eye field contributes to monitoring the context and consequences of eye movements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Macaca radiata
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Saccades / physiology