Saccades Trigger Predictive Updating of Attentional Topography in Area V4
Alexandria C. Marino, James A. Mazer
During natural behavior, saccades and attention act together to allocate limited neural resources. Attention is generally mediated by retinotopic visual neurons; therefore, specific neurons representing attended features change with each saccade. We investigated the neural mechanisms that allow attentional targeting in the face of saccades. Specifically, we looked for predictive changes in attentional modulation state or receptive field position that could stabilize attentional representations across saccades in area V4, known to be necessary for attention-dependent behavior. We recorded from neurons in monkeys performing a novel spatiotopic attention task, in which performance depended on accurate saccade compensation. Measurements of attentional modulation revealed a predictive attentional "hand-off" corresponding to a presaccadic transfer of attentional state from neurons inside the attentional focus before the saccade to those that will be inside the focus after the saccade. The predictive nature of the hand-off ensures that attentional brain maps are properly configured immediately after each saccade.
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