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Eur J Neurosci. 2011 Jun;33(11):1991-2002. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2011.07715.x.

Neural mechanisms of saccade target selection: gated accumulator model of the visual-motor cascade.

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Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience, Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, PMB 407817, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37240-7817, USA.


We review a new computational model developed to understand how evidence about stimulus salience in visual search is translated into a saccade command. The model uses the activity of visually responsive neurons in the frontal eye field as evidence for stimulus salience that is accumulated in a network of stochastic accumulators to produce accurate and timely saccades. We discovered that only when the input to the accumulation process was gated could the model account for the variability in search performance and predict the dynamics of movement neuron discharge rates. This union of cognitive modeling and neurophysiology indicates how the visual-motor transformation can occur, and provides a concrete mapping between neuron function and specific cognitive processes.

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