Attention governs action in the primate frontal eye field

Neuron. 2007 Nov 8;56(3):541-51. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.09.029.


While the motor and attentional roles of the frontal eye field (FEF) are well documented, the relationship between them is unknown. We exploited the known influence of visual motion on the apparent positions of targets, and measured how this illusion affects saccadic eye movements during FEF microstimulation. Without microstimulation, saccades to a moving grating are biased in the direction of motion, consistent with the apparent position illusion. Here we show that microstimulation of spatially aligned FEF representations increases the influence of this illusion on saccades. Rather than simply impose a fixed-vector signal, subthreshold stimulation directed saccades away from the FEF movement field, and instead more strongly in the direction of visual motion. These results demonstrate that the attentional effects of FEF stimulation govern visually guided saccades, and suggest that the two roles of the FEF work together to select both the features of a target and the appropriate movement to foveate it.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Macaca mulatta / anatomy & histology
  • Macaca mulatta / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Space Perception / physiology