Sensorimotor transformation for visually guided saccades

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Apr;1039:132-48. doi: 10.1196/annals.1325.013.


Visually guided movements require the brain to perform a sensorimotor transformation. The key to understanding this transformation is to understand the different roles of the superior colliculus (SC) and cerebellum (CB). The SC has a three-layered structure. Cells in the top layer have visual, but not motor, responses. However, cells in the deeper layers have both visual and motor responses. Thus, for a long time it was thought that the SC encoded both the retinal location of a sensory stimulus and the desired change in eye movement needed to acquire it. However, copious evidence has accumulated that shows that the SC encodes only the retinal location of a visual target, and not the movement needed to foveate it. Thus, the information needed to make accurate movements must come from another part of the brain, which is proposed to be the cerebellum. Here it is shown how the cerebellum could perform the sensorimotor transformation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motor Activity
  • Oculomotor Muscles / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology
  • Vision, Monocular
  • Visual Perception