The long-term goal of our research is to understand how the visual system decides where to look. The activity of multiple neurons as well as local field potentials will be monitored simultaneously in monkeys performing visual search tasks designed to dissociate visual processing from saccade preparation. The frontal eye field will be studied because it is situated anatomically to sample the outcome of visual processing to orient attention and produce motor commands to orient gaze. Neural signals in frontal eye field will be analyzed to evaluate specific hypotheses about how visual information is processed for target selection and how saccade preparation relates to target selection (Aim 1) that will guide and constrain stochastic network models of the visual-to-motor transformation necessary to perform visual search (Aim 2). Neural signals in supplementary eye field will be analyzed to determine its contribution to target selection and error monitoring during visual search (Aim 3). The results of these experiments will be interpreted in the framework of a new Stage Theory of Attention and Decision which postulates that visually guided eye movements in complex environments are produced by a sequence of stages -- one stage that encodes and selects visual stimuli for attention followed by another stage that prepares to initiate saccades. This framework offers the opportunity to distinguish the respective contributions of these two, distinct stages to disorders of visual attention, orientation and mobility.
Clinical science has progressed by carving nature at its joints. The Stage Theory of Attention and Decision postulates that visually guided action in complex environments arises from the operation of one stage that encodes and selects visual stimuli for attention followed by another stage that prepares and initiates saccades. This framework offers the opportunity to distinguish the respective contributions of these two, distinct states to disorders of visual attention, orientation and mobility.
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|Schall, Jeffrey D (2013) Macrocircuits: decision networks. Curr Opin Neurobiol 23:269-74|
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|Schall, Jeffrey D; Purcell, Braden A; Heitz, Richard P et al. (2011) Neural mechanisms of saccade target selection: gated accumulator model of the visual-motor cascade. Eur J Neurosci 33:1991-2002|
|Cohen, Jeremiah Y; Crowder, Erin A; Heitz, Richard P et al. (2010) Cooperation and competition among frontal eye field neurons during visual target selection. J Neurosci 30:3227-38|
|Heitz, Richard P; Cohen, Jeremiah Y; Woodman, Geoffrey F et al. (2010) Neural correlates of correct and errant attentional selection revealed through N2pc and frontal eye field activity. J Neurophysiol 104:2433-41|
|Purcell, Braden A; Heitz, Richard P; Cohen, Jeremiah Y et al. (2010) Neurally constrained modeling of perceptual decision making. Psychol Rev 117:1113-43|
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