Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 202, Issue 1, pp 129–145 | Cite as

Identifying sites of saccade amplitude plasticity in humans: transfer of adaptation between different types of saccade

  • J. Johanna Hopp
  • Albert F. Fuchs
Research Article


To view different objects of interest, primates use fast, accurate eye movements called saccades. If saccades become inaccurate, the brain adjusts their amplitudes so they again land on target, a process known as saccade adaptation. The different types of saccades elicited in different behavioral circumstances appear to utilize different parts of the oculomotor circuitry. To gain insight into where adaptation occurs in different saccade pathways, we adapted saccades of one type and examined how that adaptation affected or transferred to saccades of a different type. If adaptation of one type of saccade causes a substantial change in the amplitude of another, that adaptation may occur at a site used in the generation of both types of saccade. Alternatively, if adaptation of one type of saccade transfers only partially, or not at all, to another, adaptation occurs at least in part at a location that is not common to the generation of both types of saccade. We produced significant amplitude reductions in memory-guided, delayed, targeting and express saccades by moving the target backward during the saccade. After memory-guided saccades were adapted, the amplitude of express, targeting and delayed saccades exhibited only a partial reduction. In contrast, when express, targeting, or delayed saccades were adapted, amplitude transfer to memory-guided saccades was more substantial. These results, combined with previously published data, suggest that there are at least two sites of adaptation within the saccadic system. One is used communally in the generation of express, targeting, delayed and memory-guided saccades, whereas the other is specific for the generation of memory-guided saccades.


Motor learning Saccade gain changes Loci of plasticity Saccade adaptation 



We appreciate the comments of our colleagues S. Bierer, C.R.S. Kaneko, Y. Kojima, L. Ling, J. Phillips, and R. Soetedjo on an early version of this manuscript. We also thank M. Ibarreta and R. Soetedjo for assistance with the figures. The material presented here was submitted in partial fulfillment of the Ph.D. requirements of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Washington. This study was supported by the Vision Training Grant T32 EY07031 (JJH), RO1 EY00745 (AFF), NASA (NNA04CC60G), RR00166 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and a University of Wisconsin—Stout Faculty Research Initiative Grant. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NCRR or NIH.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of Wisconsin-StoutMenomonieUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Washington National Primate Research CenterUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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