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Neuron. 2014 Jun 18;82(6):1230-43. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.05.040.

Overt responses during covert orienting.

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Departments of Physiology & Pharmacology, Psychology, Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 5B7, Canada. Electronic address:
Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Departments of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Psychology, Medicine, Queen's University, Kingston, ON K7L 3N6, Canada.


A distributed network of cortical and subcortical brain areas controls our oculomotor behavior. This network includes the superior colliculus (SC), which coordinates an ancient visual grasp reflex via outputs that ramify widely within the brainstem and spinal cord, accessing saccadic and other premotor and autonomic circuits. In this Review, we discuss recent results correlating subliminal SC activity in the absence of saccades with diverse components of the visual grasp reflex, including neck and limb muscle recruitment, pupil dilation, and microsaccade propensity. Such subtle manifestations of covert orienting are accessible in the motor periphery and may provide the next generation of oculomotor biomarkers in health and disease.

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