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Nature. 1988 Mar 24;332(6162):357-60.

Population coding of saccadic eye movements by neurons in the superior colliculus.

Author information

1
Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.

Abstract

The deeper layers of the superior colliculus are involved in the initiation and execution of saccadic (high velocity) eye movements. A large population of coarsely tuned collicular neurons is active before each saccade. The mechanisms by which the signals that precisely control the direction and amplitude of a saccade are extracted from the activity of the population are unknown. It has been assumed that the exact trajectory of a saccade is determined by the activity of the entire population and that information is not extracted from only the most active cells in the population at a subsequent stage of neural processing. The trajectory of a saccade could be based on vector summation of the movement tendencies provided by each member of the population of active neurons or be determined by a weighted average of the vector contributions of each neuron in the active population. Here we present the results of experiments in which a small subset of the active population was reversibly deactivated with lidocaine. These results are consistent with the predictions of the latter population-averaging hypothesis and support the general idea that the direction, amplitude and velocity of saccadic eye movements are based on the responses of the entire population of cells active before a saccadic eye movement.

PMID:
3352733
DOI:
10.1038/332357a0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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