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Vision Res. 2009 Jun;49(10):1227-32. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2008.03.018. Epub 2008 May 23.

Presaccadic discrimination of receptive field stimuli by area V4 neurons.

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Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305, USA.


Previous studies have shown that the visual responses of neurons in extrastriate area V4 are enhanced prior to saccadic eye movements that target receptive field (RF) stimuli. We used receiver-operator characteristic (ROC) analysis to quantify how well V4 neurons could discriminate stable RF stimuli targeted by visually-guided saccades or ignored during saccades elsewhere. We found that discrimination was transiently enhanced prior to saccades to RF stimuli whereas it was reduced prior to saccades elsewhere. Similar to what is observed during covert attention and after frontal eye field microstimulation, the changes in stimulus discrimination were due in part to changes in response magnitude. In addition, we found evidence of an increased reliability of responses when saccades were made to the RF stimulus. These results highlight the similarity of mechanisms driving covert spatial attention and the preparation of visually-guided saccades.

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