gms | German Medical Science

102. Jahrestagung der DOG

Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft e. V.

23. bis 26.09.2004, Berlin

Frontal correlates of decision where to look

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author D. Milea - LPPA, Collège de France
  • E. Lobel - LPPA, Collège de France
  • S. Lehéricy - Department of Neuroradiology, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtriére, Paris/F
  • J.-B. Pochon - Neuroradiology, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtriére, Paris/F
  • P. Leboucher - LPPA, Collège de France
  • A. Berthoz - LPPA, Collège de France
  • C. Pierrot-Deseilligny - Neurology and INSERM 289, Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris/F

Evidenzbasierte Medizin - Anspruch und Wirklichkeit. 102. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Ophthalmologischen Gesellschaft. Berlin, 23.-26.09.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2004. Doc04dogSA.10.07

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: September 22, 2004

© 2004 Milea et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Deciding where to look is mandatory to explore the visual world, but little is known about the neural correlates subserving the cognitive phase of self-initiated eye movements in humans. We tested the hypothesis that distinct frontal areas subserve decision in self-initiated saccades when compared to preparation of externally-triggerred visually guided saccades. Ten healthy subjects were studied using event-related fMRI, aiming to separate the cognitive and executive components of the visuomotor task. Changes in the cortical activity preceeding voluntary saccades were studied when the subjects freely decided the direction of a forthcoming saccade, and when they only had to prepare a cued saccade to one of two synchronous peripheral visible targets. The preparatory set of cued saccades involved mainly the frontal eye fields, whereas free decision of where to direct a forthcoming saccade was associated with additional activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the pre-supplementary eye field and the anterior cingulate cortex. Execution of visually guided saccades activated a classical frontoparietal network including the frontal, supplementary and parietal eye fields. These findings suggest an anterior-posterior organisation in the frontal lobe, subserving distinct cognitive processes prior to saccade execution.