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J Neurophysiol. 2007 Nov;98(5):2765-78. Epub 2007 Aug 15.

TMS pulses on the frontal eye fields break coupling between visuospatial attention and eye movements.

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Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


While preparing a saccadic eye movement, visual processing of the saccade goal is prioritized. Here, we provide evidence that the frontal eye fields (FEFs) are responsible for this coupling between eye movements and shifts of visuospatial attention. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)-guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied to the FEFs 30 ms before a discrimination target was presented at or next to the target of a saccade in preparation. Results showed that the well-known enhancement of discrimination performance on locations to which eye movements are being prepared was diminished by TMS contralateral to eye movement direction. Based on the present and other reports, we propose that saccade preparatory processes in the FEF affect selective visual processing within the visual cortex through feedback projections, in that way coupling saccade preparation and visuospatial attention.

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