Microstimulation of the superior colliculus focuses attention without moving the eyes

Muller, J., Philiastides, M.G. and Newsome, W. (2005) Microstimulation of the superior colliculus focuses attention without moving the eyes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(3), pp. 524-529. (doi:10.1073/pnas.0408311101)

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Abstract

The superior colliculus (SC) is part of a network of brain areas that directs saccadic eye movements, overtly shifting both gaze and attention from position to position, in space. Here, we seek direct evidence that the SC also contributes to the control of covert spatial attention, a process that focuses attention on a region of space different from the point of gaze. While requiring monkeys to keep their gaze fixed, we tested whether microstimulation of a specific location in the SC spatial map would enhance visual performance at the corresponding region of space, a diagnostic measure of covert attention. We find that microstimulation improves performance in a spatially selective manner: thresholds decrease at the location in visual space represented by the stimulated SC site, but not at a control location in the opposite hemifield. Our data provide direct evidence that the SC contributes to the control of covert spatial attention.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Philiastides, Dr Marios
Authors: Muller, J., Philiastides, M.G., and Newsome, W.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publisher:National Academy of Sciences
ISSN:0027-8424
ISSN (Online):1091-6490

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