Measurements of simultaneously recorded spiking activity and local field potentials suggest that spatial selection emerges in the frontal eye field

Neuron. 2008 Feb 28;57(4):614-25. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.12.030.


The frontal eye field (FEF) participates in selecting the location of behaviorally relevant stimuli for guiding attention and eye movements. We simultaneously recorded local field potentials (LFPs) and spiking activity in the FEF of monkeys performing memory-guided saccade and covert visual search tasks. We compared visual latencies and the time course of spatially selective responses in LFPs and spiking activity. Consistent with the view that LFPs represent synaptic input, visual responses appeared first in the LFPs followed by visual responses in the spiking activity. However, spatially selective activity identifying the location of the target in the visual search array appeared in the spikes about 30 ms before it appeared in the LFPs. Because LFPs reflect dendritic input and spikes measure neuronal output in a local brain region, this temporal relationship suggests that spatial selection necessary for attention and eye movements is computed locally in FEF from spatially nonselective inputs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Research Design*
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology