Behavioral properties of saccades generated as a choice response

P. D. Thiem, J. A. Hill, K. M. Lee, E. L. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The behavior characterizing choice response decision-making was studied in monkeys to provide background information for ongoing neurophysiological studies of the neural mechanisms underlying saccadic choice decisions. Animals were trained to associate a specific color from a set of colored visual stimuli with a specific spatial location. The visual stimuli (colored disks) appeared briefly at equal eccentricity from a central fixation position and then were masked by gray disks. The correct target association was subsequently cued by the appearance of a colored stimulus at the fixation point. The animal indicated its choice by saccading to the remembered location of the eccentric stimulus, which had matched the color of the cue. The number of alternative associations (NA) varied from 1 to 4 and remained fixed within a block of trials. After the training period, performance (percent correct responses) declined modestly as NA increased (on average 96, 93 or 84% correct for 1, 2 or 4 NA, respectively). Response latency increased logarithmically as a function of NA, thus obeying Hick's law. The spatial extent of the learned association between color and location was investigated by rotating the array of colored stimuli that had remained fixed during the learning phase to various different angles. Error rates in choice saccades increased gradually as a function of the amount of rotation. The learned association biased the direction of the saccadic response toward the quadrant associated with the cue, but saccade direction was always toward one of the actual visual stimuli. This suggests that the learned associations between stimuli and responses were not spatially exact, but instead the association between color and location was distributed with declining strength from the trained locations. These results demonstrate that the saccade system in monkeys also displays the characteristic dependence on NA in choice response latencies, while more basic features of the eye movements are invariant from those in other tasks. The findings also provide behavioral evidence that spatially distributed regions are established for the sensory-to-motor associations during training which are later utilized for choice decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-364
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume186
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2008

Fingerprint

Saccades
Color
Reaction Time
Haplorhini
Cues
Choice Behavior
Eye Movements
Decision Making
Learning
Direction compound

Keywords

  • Choice response
  • Learned association
  • Monkey
  • Saccade

Cite this

Thiem, P. D. ; Hill, J. A. ; Lee, K. M. ; Keller, E. L. / Behavioral properties of saccades generated as a choice response. In: Experimental Brain Research. 2008 ; Vol. 186, No. 3. pp. 355-364.
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Behavioral properties of saccades generated as a choice response. / Thiem, P. D.; Hill, J. A.; Lee, K. M.; Keller, E. L.

In: Experimental Brain Research, Vol. 186, No. 3, 01.04.2008, p. 355-364.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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