How is a sensory map read Out? Effects of microstimulation in visual area MT on saccades and smooth pursuit eye movements.
To generate behavioral responses based on sensory input, motor areas of the brain must interpret, or "read out," signals from sensory maps. Our experiments tested several algorithms for how the motor systems for smooth pursuit and saccadic eye movements might extract a usable signal of target velocity from the distributed representation of velocity in the middle temporal visual area (MT or V5). Using microstimulation, we attempted to manipulate the velocity information within MT while monkeys tracked a moving visual stimulus. We examined the effects of the microstimulation on smooth pursuit and on the compensation for target velocity shown by saccadic eye movements. Microstimulation could alter both the speed and direction of the motion estimates of both types of eye movements and could also cause monkeys to generate pursuit even when the visual target was actually stationary. The pattern of alterations suggests that microstimulation can introduce an additional velocity signal into MT and that the pursuit and saccadic systems usually compute a vector average of the visually evoked and microstimulation-induced velocity signals (pursuit, 55 of 122 experiments; saccades, 70 of 122). Microstimulation effects in a few experiments were consistent with vector summation of these two signals (pursuit, 6 of 122; saccades, 2 of 122). In the remainder of the experiments, microstimulation caused either an apparent impairment in motion processing (pursuit, 47 of 122; saccades, 41 of 122) or had no effect (pursuit, 14 of 122; saccades, 9 of 122). Within individual experiments, the effects on pursuit and saccades were usually similar, but the occasional striking exception suggests that the two eye movement systems may perform motion computations somewhat independently.
Groh, JM; Born, RT; Newsome, WT
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