Lateralized frontal eye field activity precedes occipital activity shortly before saccades: evidence for cortico-cortical feedback as a mechanism underlying covert attention shifts

J Cogn Neurosci. 2010 Sep;22(9):1931-43. doi: 10.1162/jocn.2009.21342.


When an eye movement is prepared, attention is shifted toward the saccade end-goal. This coupling of eye movements and spatial attention is thought to be mediated by cortical connections between the FEFs and the visual cortex. Here, we present evidence for the existence of these connections. A visual discrimination task was performed while recording the EEG. Discrimination performance was significantly improved when the discrimination target and the saccade target matched. EEG results show that frontal activity precedes occipital activity contralateral to saccade direction when the saccade is prepared but not yet executed; these effects were absent in fixation conditions. This is consistent with the idea that the FEF exerts a direct modulatory influence on the visual cortex and enhances perception at the saccade end-goal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*