Visual motion commands for pursuit eye movements in the cerebellum

Science  02 Aug 1991:
Vol. 253, Issue 5019, pp. 568-571
DOI: 10.1126/science.1907026


Eye movements that follow a target (pursuit eye movements) facilitate high acuity visual perception of moving targets by transforming visual motion inputs into motor commands that match eye motion to target motion. The performance of pursuit eye movements requires the cerebellar flocculus, which processes both visual motion and oculomotor signals. Electrophysiological recordings from floccular Purkinje cells have allowed the identification of their firing patterns during generation of the image velocity and image acceleration signals used for pursuit. Analysis with a method based on a behavioral model converted the time-varying spike trains of floccular Purkinje cells into a description of the firing rate contributed by three visual motion signals and one oculomotor input. The flocculus encodes all the signals needed to guide pursuit.