Learned timing of motor behavior in the smooth eye movement region of the frontal eye fields.
Proper timing is a critical aspect of motor learning. We report a relationship between a representation of time and an expression of learned timing in neurons in the smooth eye movement region of the frontal eye fields (FEF(SEM)). During prelearning pursuit of target motion at a constant velocity, each FEF(SEM) neuron is most active at a distinct time relative to the onset of pursuit tracking. In response to an instructive change in target direction, a neuron expresses the most learning when the instruction occurs near the time of its maximal participation in prelearning pursuit. Different neurons are most active, and undergo the most learning, at distinct times during pursuit. We suggest that the representation of time in the FEF(SEM) drives learning that is temporally linked to an instructive change in target motion, and that this may be a general function of motor areas of the cortex.
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