Delayed oculomotor inhibition in patients with lesions to the human frontal oculomotor cortex: Evidence from a study on saccade averaging

Stefan Van der Stigchel, Tanja C W Nijboer, Janet H Bultitude, Robert D Rafal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


The frontal oculomotor cortex is known to play an important role in oculomotor selection. The aim of the current study was to examine whether previously observed findings concerning the role of the frontal oculomotor cortex in the speed of saccade initiation and oculomotor inhibition might be related to a common underlying role of these areas in oculomotor selection. To this end, six patients with lesions to the frontal oculomotor cortex performed a double stimulus paradigm in which two elements were presented simultaneously in close proximity. Patients performed a block in which no specific task instruction was given and a block in which an instruction was provided about which of the two elements was the target. The rationale behind this manipulation was that the introduction of a specific task instruction would require a stronger involvement of top-down factors. In contrast to the block without a specific task instruction, saccade latencies to the contralesional visual field were longer than the ipsilesional visual field when a task instruction was given. This effect was strongest for saccades that landed away from the target and the distractor, reflecting trials in which strong oculomotor inhibition was applied. The observed deficits can be explained in terms of a slowing of the inhibitory signals associated with the rejection of a distractor. Given the known role of the Frontal Eye Fields and the location of the lesions, we attribute these findings to the Frontal Eye Fields, revealing their important role in the voluntary control of eye movements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
Number of pages9
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Aged
  • Attention
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Saccades
  • Stroke
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Pathways


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