Zhang, MS (reprint author), 320 Yueyang Rd,Bldg 23,Rm 305, Shanghai 200031, Peoples R China,email@example.com
Guan S, Liu Y, Xia R, Zhang M. Covert attention regulates saccadic reaction time by routing between different visual-oculomotor pathways. J Neurophysiol 107: 1748-1755, 2012. First published December 28, 2011; doi:10.1152/jn.00082.2011.-Covert attention modulates saccadic performance, e. g., the abrupt onset of a task-irrelevant visual stimulus grabs attention as measured by a decrease in saccadic reaction time (SRT). The attentional advantage bestowed by the task-irrelevant stimulus is short-lived: SRT is actually longer similar to 200 ms after the onset of a stimulus than it is when no stimulus appears, known as inhibition of return. The mechanism by which attention modulates saccadic reaction is not well-understood. Here, we propose two possible mechanisms: by selective routing of the visuomotor signal through different pathways (routing hypothesis) or by general modulation of the speed of visuomotor transformation (shifting hypothesis). To test them, we designed a cue gap paradigm in which a 100-ms gap was introduced between the fixation point disappearance and the target appearance to the conventional cued visual reaction time paradigm. The cue manipulated the location of covert attention, and the gap interval resulted in a bimodal distribution of SRT, with an early mode (express saccade) and a late mode (regular saccade). The routing hypothesis predicts changes in the proportion of express saccades vs. regular saccades, whereas the shifting hypothesis predicts a shift of SRT distribution. The addition of the cue had no effect on mean reaction time of express and regular saccades, but it changed the relative proportion of two modes. These results demonstrate that the covert attention modification of the mean SRT is largely attributed to selective routing between visuomotor pathways rather than general modulation of the speed of visuomotor transformation.
Guan, Shaobo; Liu, Yu; Xia, Ruobing; Zhang, Mingsha.Covert attention regulates saccadic reaction time by routing between different visual-oculomotor pathways,JOURNAL OF NEUROPHYSIOLOGY,2012,107(6):1748-1755