Cerebellar Activation Related to Saccadic Inaccuracies
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Using functional MRI, we assessed activity in the human cerebellum related to the properties of post-saccadic visual errors that drive the plasticity of saccadic eye movements. In the scanner subjects executed blocks of saccadic eye movements toward a target that could be randomly displaced during the saccade. Such an intra-saccadic shift was randomly forward or backward, and could be either small or large. Post-saccadic visual errors induced activation in several cerebellar areas. These areas included, but were not limited to, the oculomotor vermis which is known for its role in saccadic control. Large errors yielded more activation in the cerebellar hemispheres, whereas small errors induced more activation in the vermis. Forward shifts induced more activation than backward shifts. Our results suggest that the differences in cerebellar activation patterns for different sizes and directions of post-saccadic errors could underlie the behavioral differences observed between various saccadic adaptation paradigms. In addition, the outcome argues for an extended range of cerebellar target areas in electrophysiological studies on saccadic eye movement control.
KeywordsFunctional MRI Cerebellum Oculomotor control Saccadic eye movements Motor learning
This study was funded by NWO-VIDI (MF and JvdG) and the Prinses Beatrix Fonds (JvdG). The authors like to thank Melissa Batson for proofreading the original draft of the manuscript.
Conflict of Interest
The authors state that there is no conflict of interest whatsoever regarding this paper.
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