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B. J. White, R. A. Marino, S. E. Boehnke, L. Itti, J. Theeuwes, D. P. Munoz, Competitive Integration of Visual and Goal-related Signals on Neuronal Accumulation Rate: A Correlate of Oculomotor Capture in the Superior Colliculus, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 25, No. 10, pp. 1754-1768, Oct 2013. [2012 impact factor: 4.493] (Cited by 6)
Abstract: The mechanisms that underlie the integration of visual and goal-related signals for the production of saccades remain poorly understood. Here, we examined how spatial proximity of competing stimuli shapes goal-directed responses in the superior colliculus (SC), a midbrain structure closely associated with the control of visual attention and eye movements. Monkeys were trained to perform an oculomotor-capture task [Theeuwes, J., Kramer, A. F., Hahn, S., Irwin, D. E., & Zelinsky, G. J. Influence of attentional capture on oculomotor control. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, 25, 1595-1608, 1999], in which a target singleton was revealed via an isoluminant color change in all but one item. On a portion of the trials, an additional salient item abruptly appeared near or far from the target. We quantified how spatial proximity between the abrupt-onset and the target shaped the goal-directed response. We found that the appearance of an abrupt-onset near the target induced a transient decrease in goal-directed discharge of SC visuomotor neurons. Although this was indicative of spatial competition, it was immediately followed by a rebound in presaccadic activation, which facilitated the saccadic response (i.e., it induced shorter saccadic RT). A similar suppression also occurred at most nontarget locations even in the absence of the abrupt-onset. This is indicative of a mechanism that enabled monkeys to quickly discount stimuli that shared the common nontarget feature. These results reveal a pattern of excitation/inhibition across the SC visuomotor map that acted to facilitate optimal behavior—the short duration suppression minimized the probability of capture by salient distractors, whereas a subsequent boost in accumulation rate ensured a fast goal-directed response. Such nonlinear dynamics should be incorporated into future biologically plausible models of saccade behavior.
Themes: Model of Top-Down Attentional Modulation, Model of Bottom-Up Saliency-Based Visual Attention, Monkey Electrophysiology
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