Location and function of the human frontal eye-field: a selective review

Neuropsychologia. 1996 Jun;34(6):475-83. doi: 10.1016/0028-3932(95)00134-4.


The location and possible function of the human frontal eye-field (FEF) were evaluated by reviewing results of cerebral blood-flow (CBF) and lesion studies. A remarkable consistency was found regarding the rostro-caudal (Y: from -6 to 1 mm) and dorso-ventral (Z: from 44 to 51 mm) location of the FEF, as defined by the CBF method within a standardized stereotaxic system (the zero point for all X, Y and Z coordinates coinciding with the anterior commissure, Talairach and Tournoux [Co-planar Stereotactic Atlas of the Human Brain, Georg Thieme, Stuttgart, 1988]. In contrast, there was a marked variability along the mediolateral axis (X: from -24 to -40 mm for the left hemisphere and from 21 to 40 mm for the right hemisphere). The human FEF is thus located either in the vicinity of the precentral sulcus and/or in the depth of the caudalmost part of the superior frontal sulcus. In either case, this location challenges the commonly held view of the FEF being located in Broadmann's area 8. With regard to FEF function, the results of CBF studies failed to support a role for the FEF in the cognitive aspects of oculomotor control, such as the execution of anti-saccades. Blood-flow activation data are consistent in this respect with the results of lesion studies. It is proposed that future research on FEF function in human subjects may benefit from focusing on the visuomotor rather than the cognitive aspects of oculomotor control.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe / blood supply
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*