Nov 21, 2013

Express saccades during a countermanding task

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Michael A. McCarthyChristopher F. Clements


Express saccades are rapid saccadic eye movements that can accurately redirect gaze to behaviorally relevant stimuli in the visual environment. This behavior can be commonly observed when the fixation spot disappears at a consistent, short interval before a target spot appears at a repeated location. While seemingly automatic, whether cognitive control can govern express saccade production has not been investigated. Here we report the production and manipulation of express saccades under unfavorable conditions in a saccade countermanding task necessitating cognitive control. To perform this task, we trained two monkeys to fixate a central spot and, following a variable amount of time, saccade to a target stimulus at one of two fixed locations (no-stop trials) presented simultaneously with the disappearance of the fixation dot. On a minority of trials, the fixation point reappeared instructing the monkeys to cancel their planned saccade to the peripheral target (stop-signal trials). Monkeys earned fluid reward for generating saccades to targets on no-stop trials and for maintaining fixation on stop-signal trials. Monkeys and humans adapt to the stop-signal trials by increasing saccade latencies. However, in two macaque monkeys w...Continue Reading

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