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Vis Neurosci. 1997 Sep-Oct;14(5):853-65.

Single-neuron activity in the dorsomedial frontal cortex during smooth-pursuit eye movements to predictable target motion.

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  • 1Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA.


A region of dorsomedial frontal cortex (DMFC) has been implicated in planning and executing saccadic eye movements; hence it has been referred to as a supplementary eye field (SEF). Recently, activity related to executing smooth-pursuit eye movements has been recorded from the DMFC, and microstimulation here has been shown to evoke smooth eye movements. This report documents neuronal activity present in smooth-pursuit tasks where the predictability of target motion was manipulated. The activity of many neurons in the DMFC reached a peak when a predictable change in target motion occurred. Furthermore, the peak activity of some cells was systematically shifted by manipulating the duration of the target event, indicating that the network these neurons were in could learn the temporal characteristics of new target motion. Finally, the activity of most neurons tested was greater when target motion was predictable than when it was unpredictable. The results suggest that the DMFC participates in planning smooth-pursuit eye movements based on past stimulus history.

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