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Exp Brain Res. 2010 Apr;202(1):129-45. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-2118-5. Epub 2009 Dec 11.

Identifying sites of saccade amplitude plasticity in humans: transfer of adaptation between different types of saccade.

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Department of Physics, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI 54751, USA.


To view different objects of interest, primates use fast, accurate eye movements called saccades. If saccades become inaccurate, the brain adjusts their amplitudes so they again land on target, a process known as saccade adaptation. The different types of saccades elicited in different behavioral circumstances appear to utilize different parts of the oculomotor circuitry. To gain insight into where adaptation occurs in different saccade pathways, we adapted saccades of one type and examined how that adaptation affected or transferred to saccades of a different type. If adaptation of one type of saccade causes a substantial change in the amplitude of another, that adaptation may occur at a site used in the generation of both types of saccade. Alternatively, if adaptation of one type of saccade transfers only partially, or not at all, to another, adaptation occurs at least in part at a location that is not common to the generation of both types of saccade. We produced significant amplitude reductions in memory-guided, delayed, targeting and express saccades by moving the target backward during the saccade. After memory-guided saccades were adapted, the amplitude of express, targeting and delayed saccades exhibited only a partial reduction. In contrast, when express, targeting, or delayed saccades were adapted, amplitude transfer to memory-guided saccades was more substantial. These results, combined with previously published data, suggest that there are at least two sites of adaptation within the saccadic system. One is used communally in the generation of express, targeting, delayed and memory-guided saccades, whereas the other is specific for the generation of memory-guided saccades.

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