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Psychophysiology. 2010 Nov;47(6):1011-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01026.x.

Top-down control of visual sensory processing during an ocular motor response inhibition task.

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Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, USA.


The study addressed whether top-down control of visual cortex supports volitional behavioral control in a novel antisaccade task. The hypothesis was that anticipatory modulations of visual cortex activity would differentiate trials on which subjects knew an anti- versus a pro-saccade response was required. Trials consisted of flickering checkerboards in both peripheral visual fields, followed by brightening of one checkerboard (target) while both kept flickering. Neural activation related to checkerboards before target onset (bias signal) was assessed using electroencephalography. Pretarget visual cortex responses to checkerboards were strongly modulated by task demands (significantly lower on antisaccade trials), an effect that may reduce the predisposition to saccade generation instigated by visual capture. The results illustrate how top-down sensory regulation can complement motor preparation to facilitate adaptive voluntary behavioral control.

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