Dissociable roles of human frontal eye fields and early visual cortex in presaccadic attention

Nina M. Hanning, Antonio Fernández, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shortly before saccadic eye movements, visual sensitivity at the saccade target is enhanced, at the expense of sensitivity elsewhere. Some behavioral and neural correlates of this presaccadic shift of attention resemble those of covert attention, deployed during fixation. Microstimulation in non-human primates has shown that presaccadic attention modulates perception via feedback from oculomotor to visual areas. This mechanism also seems plausible in humans, as both oculomotor and visual areas are active during saccade planning. We investigated this hypothesis by applying TMS to frontal or visual areas during saccade preparation. By simultaneously measuring perceptual performance, we show their causal and differential roles in contralateral presaccadic attention effects: Whereas rFEF+ stimulation enhanced sensitivity opposite the saccade target throughout saccade preparation, V1/V2 stimulation reduced sensitivity at the saccade target only shortly before saccade onset. These findings are consistent with presaccadic attention modulating perception through cortico-cortical feedback and further dissociate presaccadic and covert attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5381
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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