Dynamic dissociation of visual selection from saccade programming in frontal eye field

J Neurophysiol. 2001 Nov;86(5):2634-7. doi: 10.1152/jn.2001.86.5.2634.


Previous studies of visually responsive neurons in the frontal eye fields have identified a selection process preceding saccades during visual search. The goal of this experiment was to determine whether the selection process corresponds to the selection of a conspicuous stimulus or to preparation of the next saccade. This was accomplished with the use of a novel task, called search-step, in which the target of a singleton visual search array switches location with a distracter on random trials. The target step trials created a condition in which the same stimulus yielded saccades either toward or away from the target. Visually responsive neurons in frontal eye field selected the current location of the conspicuous target even when gaze shifted to the location of a distractor. This dissociation demonstrates that the selection process manifest in visual neurons in the frontal eye field may be an explicit interpretation of the image and not an obligatory saccade command.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe / cytology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Haplorhini
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*