Express saccades elicited during visual scan in the monkey

Vision Research
M A Sommer

Abstract

Monkeys trained to saccade to visual targets can develop separate "express" and "regular" modes in their distribution of saccadic latencies. The purpose of this study was to determine whether this occurs under more natural viewing conditions, when targets are suddenly presented in a structured visual field during visual scan. It was found that scanning saccades stopped appearing 60 msec after a target's onset, and subsequent saccades, which were directed toward the suddenly appearing target, had a bimodal distribution of latencies. Express saccades were more likely to occur as the target was presented later in a fixation. Regular mode saccades were more likely to occur with longer target durations. Scanning saccades made to stimuli of the structured visual field always had unimodal inter-saccadic interval distributions. All these effects were apparent after only 2-3 days of training. These findings, taken together with recent physiological results, suggest that the visuomotor cells of the superior colliculus mediate latency bimodality.

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