Parietal damage dissociates saccade planning from presaccadic perceptual facilitation

Cereb Cortex. 2009 Feb;19(2):383-7. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhn088. Epub 2008 Jun 4.


A well-known theory in the field of attention today is the premotor theory of attention which suggests that the mechanisms involved in eye movements are the same as those for spatial attention shifts. We tested a parietal damaged patient with unilateral optic ataxia and 4 controls on a dual saccade/attentional task and show a dissociation between saccadic eye movements and presaccadic perceptual enhancement at the saccade goal. Remarkably, though the patient was able to make the appropriate saccades to the left, impaired visual field (undistinguishable from saccades to his right, intact visual field), he was unable to discriminate the letter at the saccade goal (whereas his performance was like controls for letter discrimination in his right visual field). This suggests that saccade planning and presaccadic perceptual facilitation are separable--planning a saccade to a location does not necessitate that the processing of this location is enhanced. Based on these results, we suggest that the parietal cortex is necessary for the coupling between saccade planning and presaccadic perceptual facilitation.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / psychology*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*