Neurons in the primate superior colliculus are active before and during arm movements to visual targets

Eur J Neurosci. 1993 Apr 1;5(4):335-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.1993.tb00501.x.


The activity of single neurons in the superior colliculus was recorded while a rhesus monkey made arm movements to visual targets located on a screen in front of him. It was found that the activity of a subpopulation of cells was clearly related to these arm movements. The neurons began to discharge either with the onset of the movement, during the movement period, or well before the onset of electromyogram (EMG) activity and movement, and could be active for the entire duration of EMG activity. While the discharge pattern of some of these 'reach' neurons was not different for movements to different target positions, other cells showed graded changes in activity depending on the direction of movement. The peak discharge rate could rise to > 100 impulses/s. Some units received somatosensory input; other reach cells exhibited a visual response and/or presaccadic activity. It is likely that the primate superior colliculus is not only involved in the initiation and control of orientating movements of the eyes but also in reaching movements of the arms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arm / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Movement*
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology*