Interaction of visual and non-visual signals in the initiation of smooth pursuit eye movements in primates

Behav Brain Res. 1989 Feb 1;32(1):95-9. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(89)80077-4.


The initiation of smooth pursuit eye movements (PEM) by visual and non-visual signals was analysed in humans and monkeys. While PEM latency ranged around 150 ms when a purely visual target was provided, it often dropped to about 0 ms, or even became negative, when target movement was coupled to the subject's arm; this suggests that signals about the intention to move the arm can be evaluated for PEM control. Eye movements always started in the visually correct direction, independent of the sign of coupling between arm and target; from this we conclude that intentional signals are not mere triggers, but also convey directional information. Short-latency PEM trials were intermixed with those characterized by normal latencies, which often resulted in bimodal latency distributions; this suggests that visual and intentional signals compete for the control of PEM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention*
  • Eye Movements*
  • Humans
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Orientation
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Pursuit, Smooth*
  • Reaction Time