Movement of neural activity on the superior colliculus motor map during gaze shifts

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Science  15 Mar 1991:
Vol. 251, Issue 4999, pp. 1358-1360
DOI: 10.1126/science.2003221


The superior colliculus contains neurons that cause displacements of the visual axis (gaze shifts). These cells are arranged topographically in a motor map on which the vector (amplitude and direction) of the coded movement varies continuously with location. How this spatial representation becomes a temporal code (frequency and duration) in the motoneurons is unknown. During a gaze shift, a zone of neural activity moved continuously on the map from an initial location, defining the vector of the desired gaze shift, to a final "zero" position containing neurons that were active during fixation. Thus, the spatial-temporal transformation may be accomplished by control of gaze throughout the spatial trajectory of activity on the motor map.

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