Reversal of a distractor effect on saccade target selection after superior colliculus inactivation.

Article date: 2008/3/28

PubMed ID: 520439

Journal name: Journal of neurophysiology (ISSN: 0022-3077)

DOI: 10.1152/jn.00591.2007


Recent evidence indicates that inactivation of the primate superior colliculus (SC) results in an increase in saccade target-selection errors. The pattern of errors suggests that a winner-take-all competition selects the saccade goal and that SC inactivation perturbs this process by biasing the competition against stimuli in the inactivated field. To investigate this idea, the difficulty of target selection was manipulated in a color-oddity search task by varying the number of homogeneous distractors in the search array. Previous studies have shown that target selection is easier when a greater number of homogeneous distractors is present, due to perceptual grouping of the distractors. These results were replicated when testing with the SC intact. Surprisingly, during SC inactivation, this normal trend was reversed: target-selection performance declined significantly with more distractors, resulting in a greater proportion of errant saccades to distractors. Examination of the saccade endpoints indicates that after SC inactivation, many errant saccades were directed to distractors adjacent to the target. This pattern of results suggests that the salience signal used by the SC for target selection is relatively broad in spatial scope. As a result, when the area of the SC representing the target location is inactivated, distractors near the target are at a competitive advantage relative to more distant distractors and, consequently, are selected more often as the saccade goal. This contributes to the trend of worse performance with more distractors due to the greater proximity of distractors to the target.

Author List: McPeek Robert M

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Article Date: 2008/03/26

Substances mentioned in the article: Anesthetics, Local; GABA Agonists; Muscimol; Lidocaine;

Mesh terms: Anesthetics, Local/administration & dosage; Animals; GABA Agonists/administration & dosage; Lidocaine/administration & dosage; Macaca mulatta; Male; Muscimol/administration & dosage; Photic Stimulation; Saccades/physiology; Superior Colliculi/physiology;

Citations: - 9736670

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