We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate cortical activation during the performance of three oculomotor tasks that impose increasing levels of cognitive demand. (1) In a visually guided saccade (VGS) task, subjects made saccades to flashed targets. (2) In a compatible task, subjects made leftward and rightward saccades in response to foveal presentation of the uppercase words "LEFT" or "RIGHT." (3) In a mixed task, subjects made rightward saccades in response to the lowercase word "left" and leftward saccades in response to the lowercase word "right" on incompatible trials (60%). The remaining 40% of trials required compatible responses to uppercase words. The VGS and compatible tasks, when compared to fixation, activated the three cortical eye fields: the supplementary eye field (SEF), the frontal eye field (FEF), and the parietal eye field (PEF). The mixed task, when compared to the compatible task, activated three additional cortical regions proximate to the three eye fields: (1) rostral to the SEF in medial frontal cortex; (2) rostral to the FEF in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC); (3) rostral and lateral to the PEF in posterior parietal cortex. These areas may contribute to the suppression of prepotent responses and in holding novel visuomotor associations in working memory.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.