Visual Target Selection for Eye Movements
My laboratory is interested in understanding the neural basis of higher order perceptual processing and the control of volitional movements. Because the execution of voluntary actions usually involves processes such as target selection, learning, memory, planning and expectation, motor systems are well suited to serve as model systems in which to study these processes. Therefore, we investigate neural processes leading up to the execution of movements of the eyes, in particular, those eye movements that lead to rapid changes in the line of sight-saccades. We have a multi-technique approach to the study of these processes. First, we record electrical activity of neurons while subjects perform eye movement tasks designed to tap into cognitive processes. Second, we activate or inactivate particular regions of the brain to produce behaviors or interfere with ongoing behaviors and neural processing. Finally, because damage to certain brain regions produces profound clinical disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, we study eye movements of both healthy and diseased human subjects to further our understanding of the role these structures play in both perceptual processing and in producing the debilitating movement effects of these disorders.
- Li, X., B. Kim, and M.A. Basso. 2006. Transient pauses in delay-period activity of superior colliculus neurons. J. Neurophysiol. 95: 2252-2264.
- Li, X. and M.A. Basso. 2005. Competitive stimulus interactions within single response fields of superior colliculus neurons. J. Neurosci. 25: 11357-11373.
- Basso, M.A., J.J. Pokorny, and P. Liu. 2005. Activity of substantia nigra pars reticulata neurons during smooth pursuit eye movements. Euro. J. Neurosci. 22: 448-464.
- Williamson, S.S., A.Z. Zivotofsky, and M.A. Basso. 2005. Modulation of gaze-evoked blinks depends primarily on extraretinal factors. J. Neurophysiol. 93: 627-632.
- Basso, M.A. and R.H. Wurtz. 2002. Neuronal activity in substantia nigra par reticulata during target selection. J. Neurosci. 22: 1883-1894.
- Basso, M.A. 1998. Cognitive set and oculomotor control. Neuron 21: 665-668.