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Ulrich Ettinger; Pharmacological Influences on Oculomotor Control in Healthy Humans. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1403. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1403.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Oculomotor control can be studied as an important model system for our understanding of how the brain implements visually informed (reflexive and voluntary) movements. A number of paradigms have been developed to investigate specific aspects of the cognitive and sensorimotor processes underlying this fascinating ability of the brain. For example, saccadic paradigms allow the specific and experimentally controlled study of response inhibition as well as temporo-spatial prediction. In this talk I will present recent data from studies investigating pharmacological influences on saccadic control in healthy humans. Findings from nicotine studies point to improvements of response inhibition and volitional response generation through this cholinergic agonist. Evidence from methylphenidate on the other hand suggests that oculomotor as well as motor response inhibition is unaffected by this dopaminergic manipulation, whereas the generation of saccades to temporally predictive visual targets is improved. These findings will be integrated with our published and ongoing work on the molecular genetic correlates of eye movements as well as their underlying brain activity. I will conclude by (1) summarising the pharmacological mechanisms underlying saccadic control and (2) emphasising the role that such oculomotor tasks may play in the evaluation of potential cognitive enhancing compounds, with implications for neuropsychiatric conditions such as ADHD, schizophrenia and dementia.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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