Delay-period activity in visual, visuomovement, and movement neurons in the frontal eye field

Bonnie M. Lawrence, Robert L. White, Lawrence H. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the present study, we examined the role of frontal eye field neurons in the maintenance of spatial information in a delayed-saccade paradigm. We found that visual, visuomovement, and movement neurons conveyed roughly equal amounts of spatial information during the delay period. Although there was significant delay-period activity in individual movement neurons, there was no significant delay-period activity in the averaged population of movement neurons. These contradictory results were reconciled by the finding that the population of movement neurons with memory activity consisted of two subclasses of neurons, the combination of which resulted in the cancellation of delay-period activity in the population of movement neurons. One subclass consisted of neurons with significantly greater delay activity in the preferred than in the null direction ("canonical"), whereas the other subclass consisted of neurons with significantly greater delay activity in the null direction than in the preferred direction ("paradoxical"). Preferred direction was defined by the saccade direction that evoked the greatest movement-related activity. Interestingly, the peak saccade-related activity of canonical neurons occurred before the onset of the saccade, whereas the peak saccade-related activity of paradoxical neurons occurred after the onset of the saccade. This suggests that the former, but not the latter, are directly involved in triggering saccades. We speculate that paradoxical neurons provide a mechanism by which spatial information can be maintained in a saccade-generating circuit without prematurely triggering a saccade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1498-1508
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Volume94
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

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