TMS evidence for smooth pursuit gain control by the frontal eye fields

Ulrich Nuding, Roger Kalla, Neil G. Muggleton, Ulrich Büttner, Vincent Walsh, Stefan Glasauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Smooth pursuit eye movements are used to continuously track slowly moving visual objects. A peculiar property of the smooth pursuit system is the nonlinear increase in sensitivity to changes in target motion with increasing pursuit velocities. We investigated the role of the frontal eye fields (FEFs) in this dynamic gain control mechanism by application of transcranial magnetic stimulation. Subjects were required to pursue a slowly moving visual target whose motion consisted of 2 components: a constant velocity component at 4 different velocities (0, 8, 16, and 24 deg/s) and a superimposed high-frequency sinusoidal oscillation (4 Hz, ±8 deg/s). Magnetic stimulation of the FEFs reduced not only the overall gain of the system, but also the efficacy of the dynamic gain control. We thus provide the first direct evidence that the FEF population is significantly involved in the nonlinear computation necessary for continuously adjusting the feedforward gain of the pursuit system. We discuss this with relation to current models of smooth pursuit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1150
Number of pages7
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Keywords

  • Gain modulation
  • Sensorimotor transformation
  • Sensory reweighting
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)

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