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Brain Res Bull. 1998 Jun;46(3):211-24.

Visual-auditory interactions modulate saccade-related activity in monkey superior colliculus.

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University of Nijmegen, Department of Medical Physics and Biophysics, The Netherlands. FRENS@FYS1.FGG.EUR.NL


This paper reports on single-unit activity of saccade-related burst neurons (SRBNs) in the intermediate and deep layers of the monkey superior colliculus (SC), evoked by bimodal sensory stimulation. Monkeys were trained to generate saccadic eye movements towards visual stimuli, in either a unimodal visual saccade task, or in a bimodal visual-auditory task. In the latter task, the monkeys were required to make an accurate saccade towards a visual target, while ignoring an auditory stimulus. The presentation of an auditory stimulus in temporal and spatial proximity of the visual target influenced neither the accuracy nor the kinematic properties of the evoked saccades. However, it had a significant effect on the activity of 90% (45/50) of the SRBNs. The motor-related burst increased significantly in some neurons, but was suppressed in others. In visual-movement cells, comparable bimodal interactions were observed in both the visually evoked burst and the movement-related burst. The large differences observed in the movement-related activity of SRBNs for identical saccades under different sensory conditions do not support the hypothesis that such cells encode dynamic motor error. The only behavioral parameter that was affected by the presentation of the auditory stimulus was saccade latency. Auditory stimulation caused saccade latency changes in the majority of the experiments. Meanwhile, the timing of peak collicular motor activity and saccade onset remained tightly coupled for all stimulus configurations. In addition, saccade latency varied as function of the distance between the stimuli in 36% of the recordings. Interestingly, the occurrence of a spatial latency effect covaried significantly with a similar spatial influence on the SRBNs firing rate. These cells were always most active in the bimodal task when both stimuli were in spatial register, but activity decreased with increasing stimulus separation.

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