Memory and decision-making in the frontal cortex during visual motion-processing for smooth pursuit eye movements
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractCortical motor areas are thought to contribute “higher order processing” but what that processing might include is unknown. Previous studies of the smooth pursuit-related discharge of supplementary eye field (SEF) neurons did not distinguish activity associated with the preparation for pursuit from discharge related to processing or memory of the target motion signals. Using a new, memory-based task, which was designed to separate these components, we show that the SEF contains signals coding retinal image-slip-velocity, memory and assessment of visual motion-direction, the decision of whether or not to pursue, and the preparation for pursuit eye movements. Bilateral muscimol injection into SEF resulted in directional errors in smooth pursuit, errors of whether or not to pursue, and impairment of initial correct eye movements. These results suggest an important role for the SEF in memory and assessment of visual motion-direction and the programming of appropriate pursuit eye movements.