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Zhenlan Jin, Ruie Gou, Junjun Zhang, Ling Li; The role of frontal pursuit area in interaction between smooth pursuit eye movements and attention: A TMS study. Journal of Vision 2021;21(3):11. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.3.11.
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Close coupling between attention and smooth pursuit eye movements has been widely established and frontal eye field (FEF) is a “hub” region for attention and eye movements. Frontal pursuit area (FPA), a subregion of the FEF, is part of neural circuit for the pursuit, here, we directly checked the role of the FPA in the interaction between the pursuit and attention. To do it, we applied a dual-task paradigm where an attention demanding task was integrated into the pursuit target and interrupted the FPA using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). In the study, participants were required to pursue a moving circle with a letter inside, which changed to another one every 100 ms and report whether “H” (low attentional load) or one of “H,” “S,” or “L” (high attentional load) appeared during the trial. As expected, increasing the attentional load decreased accuracy of the letter detection. Importantly, the FPA TMS had no effect on both the pursuit and letter detection tasks in the low load condition, whereas it reduced 200 to 320 ms gain, but tended to increase the letter detection accuracy in the high load condition. Moreover, individual's FPA TMS effect on pursuit gain was significantly correlated with that on letter detection accuracy. Presumably, the pursuit gain control by the FPA was compensated by attention in low load condition, and the FPA may flexibly allocate attentional resources between the pursuit and letter detection task in high load condition. Altogether, it seems that the FPA has a control over attentional allocation between tasks.
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