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Nature. 2014 Mar 27;507(7493):504-7. doi: 10.1038/nature13149.

Visual space is compressed in prefrontal cortex before eye movements.

Author information

1
1] Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA [2] Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
2
Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California 94305, USA.

Abstract

We experience the visual world through a series of saccadic eye movements, each one shifting our gaze to bring objects of interest to the fovea for further processing. Although such movements lead to frequent and substantial displacements of the retinal image, these displacements go unnoticed. It is widely assumed that a primary mechanism underlying this apparent stability is an anticipatory shifting of visual receptive fields (RFs) from their presaccadic to their postsaccadic locations before movement onset. Evidence of this predictive 'remapping' of RFs has been particularly apparent within brain structures involved in gaze control. However, critically absent among that evidence are detailed measurements of visual RFs before movement onset. Here we show that during saccade preparation, rather than remap, RFs of neurons in a prefrontal gaze control area massively converge towards the saccadic target. We mapped the visual RFs of prefrontal neurons during stable fixation and immediately before the onset of eye movements, using multi-electrode recordings in monkeys. Following movements from an initial fixation point to a target, RFs remained stationary in retinocentric space. However, in the period immediately before movement onset, RFs shifted by as much as 18 degrees of visual angle, and converged towards the target location. This convergence resulted in a threefold increase in the proportion of RFs responding to stimuli near the target region. In addition, like in human observers, the population of prefrontal neurons grossly mislocalized presaccadic stimuli as being closer to the target. Our results show that RF shifts do not predict the retinal displacements due to saccades, but instead reflect the overriding perception of target space during eye movements.

PMID:
24670771
PMCID:
PMC4064801
DOI:
10.1038/nature13149
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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