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Vis Neurosci. 2008 Sep-Dec;25(5-6):661-73. doi: 10.1017/S0952523808080863. Epub 2008 Dec 12.

Conditions that alter saccadic eye movement latencies and affect target choice to visual stimuli and to electrical stimulation of area V1 in the monkey.

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Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


In this study, we examined procedures that alter saccadic latencies and target selection to visual stimuli and electrical stimulation of area V1 in the monkey. It has been shown that saccadic eye movement latencies to singly presented visual targets form a bimodal distribution when the fixation spot is turned off a number of milliseconds prior to the appearance of the target (the gap period); the first mode has been termed express saccades and the second regular saccades. When the termination of the fixation spot is coincident with the appearance of the target (0 ms gap), express saccades are rarely generated. We show here that a bimodal distribution of saccadic latencies can also be obtained when an array of visual stimuli is presented prior to the appearance of the visual target, provided the elements of the array overlap spatially with the visual target. The overall latency of the saccadic eye movements elicited by electrical stimulation of area V1 is significantly shortened both when a gap is introduced between the termination of the fixation spot and the stimulation and when an array is presented. However, under these conditions, the distribution of saccadic latencies is unimodal. When two visual targets are presented after the fixation spot, introducing a gap has no effect on which target is chosen. By contrast, when electrical stimulation is paired with a visual target, introducing a gap greatly increases the frequency with which the electrical stimulation site is chosen.

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