Two-dimensional spatial tuning for saccades in human parieto-frontal cortex

Neuroimage. 2014 Feb 15;87:476-89. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2013.09.067. Epub 2013 Oct 4.


Saccades in the frontoparallel plane are targeted at two-dimensional (2D) locations, defined by direction and amplitude. Macaque neurophysiology has shown that these dimensions are jointly represented in single intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and frontal eye fields (FEF) neurons, constituting multiple maps of 2D saccade space. Human fMRI has shown that the direction of the saccade is topographically represented across large neuronal groups. However, it is unknown whether both direction and amplitude are separable dimensions at the voxel level and whether these tuning variables are organized in large-scale topographic maps. We used fMRI to address these issues in subjects performing an instructed-delay saccade task to 18 locations (6 directions, 3 amplitudes). Singular value decomposition was applied to the corresponding response field of each voxel, providing an index of the separability into direction and amplitude tuning. Our findings show that saccade location tuning is composed of separable direction and amplitude components within voxels across the parieto-frontal network. In both IPS and FEF there were amplitude gradients and reversals of direction tuning across voxels, with a medio-lateral gradient of decreasing saccade amplitude along the IPS. These findings reveal the 2D cortical organization of saccade space within and across voxels and hold great potential for the study of other sensorimotor systems.

Keywords: Frontal eye fields; Intraparietal sulcus; Saccade amplitude; Singular value decomposition; Topography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Young Adult