Modulation of motor control in saccadic behaviors by TMS over the posterior parietal cortex

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The right posterior parietal cortex (rPPC) has been found to be critical in shaping visual selection and distractor-induced saccade curvature in the context of predictive as well as nonpredictive visual cues by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) interference. However, the dynamic details of how distractor-induced saccade curvatures are affected by rPPC TMS have not yet been investigated. This study aimed to elucidate the key dynamic properties that cause saccades to curve away from distractors with different degrees of curvature in various TMS and target predictability conditions. Stochastic optimal feedback control theory was used to model the dynamics of the TMS saccade data. This allowed estimation of torques, which was used to identify the critical dynamic mechanisms producing saccade curvature. The critical mechanisms of distractorinduced saccade curvatures were found to be the motor commands and torques in the transverse direction. When an unpredictable saccade target occurred with rPPC TMS, there was an initial period of greater distractor-induced torque toward the side opposite the distractor in the transverse direction, immediately followed by a relatively long period of recovery torque that brought the deviated trace back toward the target. The results imply that the mechanisms of distractorinduced saccade curvature may be comprised of two mechanisms: the first causing the initial deviation and the second bringing the deviated trace back toward the target. The pattern of the initial torque in the transverse direction revealed the former mechanism. Conversely, the later mechanism could be well explained as a consequence of the control policy in this model. To summarize, rPPC TMS increased the initial torque away from the distractor as well as the recovery torque toward the target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-752
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2012


  • Eye movements
  • Right posterior parietal cortex
  • Saccade curvature
  • Stochastic optimal feedback control theory
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation


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