The motor system prepares for movements well in advance of their execution. In the gaze control system, the dynamics of preparatory neural activity have been well described by stochastic accumulation-to-threshold models. However, it is unclear whether this activity has features indicative of a hidden movement command. We explicitly tested whether preparatory neural activity in premotor neurons of the primate superior colliculus has “motor potential”. We removed downstream inhibition on the saccadic system using the trigeminal blink reflex, triggering saccades at earlier-than-normal latencies. Accumulating low-frequency activity was predictive of eye movement dynamics tens of milliseconds in advance of the actual saccade, indicating the presence of a latent movement command. We also show that reaching a fixed threshold level is not a necessary condition for movement initiation. The results bring into question extant models of saccade generation and support the possibility of a concurrent representation for movement preparation and generation.
- Neeraj J Gandhi
- Neeraj J Gandhi
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols of the University of Pittsburgh (Protocol 14114861).
- Emilio Salinas, Reviewing Editor, Wake Forest School of Medicine, United States
- Received: June 15, 2017
- Accepted: September 8, 2017
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 11, 2017 (version 1)
© 2017, Jagadisan & Gandhi
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