Oculomotor system

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Value-based decision making involves choosing from multiple options with different values. The authors identify a neural mechanism that directly transforms absolute values to categorical choices within the superior colliculus and which supports value-based decision making critical for real-world economic behaviours.

    • Beizhen Zhang
    • , Janis Ying Ying Kan
    •  & Michael Christopher Dorris
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Humans are normally not aware that their eyes are always in motion, even when attempting to maintain steady gaze on a point. Here the authors show that these small eye movements are finely controlled and contribute more than two lines in a standard eye-chart test of visual acuity.

    • Janis Intoy
    •  & Michele Rucci
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Eye‐tracking is a valuable tool in cognitive science for measuring how attention is directed during visual scene exploration. Here, the authors introduce a new, touchscreen-based method that accomplishes the same goal via tracking finger movements.

    • Guillaume Lio
    • , Roberta Fadda
    •  & Angela Sirigu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microsaccades are small-amplitude, fixational eye movements that are largely thought to be involuntary. Here, the authors demonstrate that monkeys (and humans) can be easily trained to respond to a remembered target location with a volitional microsaccade, and that a population of superior colliculus neurons is selectively associated with them.

    • Konstantin F. Willeke
    • , Xiaoguang Tian
    •  & Ziad M. Hafed
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The praying mantis, a predatory insect, estimates depth via binocular vision. In this way, the animal decides whether prey is within reach. Here, the authors explore the neural correlates of binocular distance estimation and report that individual neurons are tuned to specific locations in 3D space.

    • Ronny Rosner
    • , Joss von Hadeln
    •  & Jenny C. A. Read
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Blindsight refers to visual behaviours that are spared following lesions to the primary visual cortex and is thought to involve pulvinar circuits. Here, the authors report that selective inactivation of the ventral pulvinar or the superior colliculus leads to impairment in visually guided saccades in blindsight.

    • Masaharu Kinoshita
    • , Rikako Kato
    •  & Tadashi Isa
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Our eyes constantly follow objects we see, but do they also move in synchrony with auditory inputs? Here, the authors show that eyelid movements track the temporal structure of speech and other sound sequences, which could reflect a role of motor systems in temporal attention and sequence processing.

    • Peiqing Jin
    • , Jiajie Zou
    •  & Nai Ding
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Saccades have been extensively used to report choices in perceptual decision making studies yet little is known about the influence of covert decision-related processes on saccade metrics. Here, the authors demonstrate that saccade kinematics is a reliable tell about the degree of decision certainty.

    • Joshua A. Seideman
    • , Terrence R. Stanford
    •  & Emilio Salinas
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In primates, the superior colliculus (SC) contributes to rapid visual exploration with saccades. Here the authors show that the superior colliculus preferentially represents low spatial frequencies, which are the most prevalent in natural scenes.

    • Chih-Yang Chen
    • , Lukas Sonnenberg
    •  & Ziad M. Hafed
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Saccades result in remapping the neural representation of a target object as well as its attentional modulation. Here the authors show that the trans-saccadic attentional shift is precisely synchronized with the saccade resulting in optimal maintenance of the locus of spatial attention.

    • Tao Yao
    • , Stefan Treue
    •  & B. Suresh Krishna
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Basal ganglia can both facilitate or inhibit movement through excitatory and inhibitory pathways; however whether these opposing signals are dynamically regulated during behavior is not known. Here the authors use multinucleus LFP recordings and electrical microstimulation in monkeys performing saccade based tasks to show task specific changes in the tonic weighting of these pathways.

    • Jay J. Jantz
    • , Masayuki Watanabe
    •  & Douglas P. Munoz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Macaque higher visual areas MST and VIP encode heading direction based on self-motion stimuli. Here the authors show that, while making saccades, the heading direction decoded from the neural responses is compressed toward straight-ahead, and independently demonstrate a perceptual illusion in humans based on this perisaccadic decoding error.

    • Frank Bremmer
    • , Jan Churan
    •  & Markus Lappe
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Active locomotion requires closed-loop sensorimotor co ordination between perception and action. Here the authors show using behavioural, imaging and modelling approaches that gaze orientation during phototaxis behaviour in larval zebrafish is related to oscillatory dynamics of a neuronal population in the hindbrain.

    • Sébastien Wolf
    • , Alexis M. Dubreuil
    •  & Georges Debrégeas
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Saliency maps have been proposed to guide visual attention, yet the underlying neural correlates remain undetermined. Here, the authors record from monkeys as they watch videos of natural scenes, and find superior colliculus superficial visual-layer neurons exhibit activity patterns consistent with a visual saliency map.

    • Brian J. White
    • , David J. Berg
    •  & Douglas P. Munoz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The extent to which non-cerebellar pathways can refine motor performance is debated. Here, the authors demonstrate behaviourally relevant patterns of activation evoke rapid plasticity within direct and indirect vestibulo-ocular reflex pathways in vivo, leading to changes in evoked eye movements.

    • Diana E. Mitchell
    • , Charles C. Della Santina
    •  & Kathleen E. Cullen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microglia play key roles during early neurodevelopment. Here the authors show that microglia are important mediators of ocular dominance plasticity (ODP). Microglia respond to monocular deprivation during the visual critical period, and disrupting microglial P2Y12 purinergic receptor abrogates ODP.

    • G. O. Sipe
    • , R. L. Lowery,
    •  & A. K. Majewska
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Dreaming occurs in REM sleep, yet the neural mechanisms involved in generating it are not understood. Here Cox and colleagues show that glutamatergic neurons in the dorsal pons are activated most during transition to REM sleep while GABAergic neurons are more active during waking state.

    • Julia Cox
    • , Lucas Pinto
    •  & Yang Dan
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Visual receptive fields are known to change positions around the time of a saccade, but the nature of this remapping is unclear. Here Neupane and colleagues show that neurons in area V4 of the visual cortex exhibit two types of remapping, one consistent with a role in maintaining perceptual stability, and a second that seems to reflect shifts of attention.

    • Sujaya Neupane
    • , Daniel Guitton
    •  & Christopher C. Pack
  • Article
    | Open Access

    How neurons in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) respond to reward related behaviours is not known. Here, Li and colleagues report that DRN serotoninergic neurons are phasically activated by rewards such as sex, food and sucrose, and tonically activated during reward anticipation, while GABAergic neurons respond to punishment.

    • Yi Li
    • , Weixin Zhong
    •  & Minmin Luo
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The mammalian basal forebrain controls cortical rhythm and wake-sleep. Anaclet et al.use genetically-targeted chemogenetic systems to activate or inhibit cholinergic, glutamatergic or GABAergic neurons in this region, and reveal their contributions to behavioral and electrocortical arousal in behaving mice.

    • Christelle Anaclet
    • , Nigel P. Pedersen
    •  & Patrick M. Fuller
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Primates acquire visual information through rapid saccadic eye movements, although little is known about their effects on neural processing of visual inputs. Here the authors demonstrate that saccades produce modulations of visual cortical processing that likely originate in the thalamus.

    • James M. McFarland
    • , Adrian G. Bondy
    •  & Daniel A. Butts
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A key question in neuroscience is understanding how the brain distinguishes self-generated motion from motion in the external world. Here the authors demonstrate that the response of primary visual cortical neurons to a moving stimulus depends on whether the motion was self- or externally generated.

    • Xoana G. Troncoso
    • , Michael B. McCamy
    •  & Susana Martinez-Conde
  • Article |

    Failure to attend to visual cues is a common consequence of visual cortical injury. Here, the authors demonstrate that auditory–visual cross-modal behavioural training leads to neural plasticity and reinstatement of visuomotor competency in animals rendered unilaterally blind by visual cortical removal.

    • Huai Jiang
    • , Barry E. Stein
    •  & John G. McHaffie
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The ability of animals to respond to life-threatening stimuli is critical for survival, yet the neural circuits mediating innate defensive behaviors are not well understood. Here, the authors reveal a novel collicular–thalamic–amygdala circuit critical for innate defensive responses to visual threats.

    • Pengfei Wei
    • , Nan Liu
    •  & Liping Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The mammalian superior colliculus (SC) processes visual stimuli but little is known about the spatial organization of the response preferences for specific visual features. Here the authors show that the mouse SC contains a map for orientation preference such that preferred grating orientation is aligned to concentric circles around the centre of the visual field.

    • Mehran Ahmadlou
    •  & J Alexander Heimel
  • Article |

    Cortical brain signals are often studied by predicting sensory inputs and behaviours from ensembles of neurons, but the uncertainty of these predictions is poorly understood. Graf and Andersen show that the level of uncertainty is reduced when populations of cortical neurons exhibit correlated variability.

    • Arnulf B. A. Graf
    •  & Richard A. Andersen
  • Article |

    Hox genes have been implicated in the development and functioning of neural circuits in vertebrates. Here, the authors show that although hox3genes are not required for overall neural circuit development, they do appear to be necessary to prevent the formation of specific aberrant neuronal connections.

    • Leung-Hang Ma
    • , Charlotte L. Grove
    •  & Robert Baker