Perisaccadic parietal and occipital gamma power in light and in complete darkness

Peter B. Forgacs, Hans Von Gizycki, Ivan Selesnick, Nasir A. Syed, Kurt Ebrahim, Matt Avitable, Vahe Amassian, William Lytton, Ivan Bodis-Wollner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Our objective was to determine perisaccadic gamma range oscillations in the EEG during voluntary saccades in humans. We evaluated occipital perisaccadic gamma activity both in the presence and absence of visual input, when the observer was blindfolded. We quantified gamma power in the time periods before, during, and after horizontal saccades. The corresponding EEG was evaluated for individual saccades and the wavelet transformed EEG averaged for each time window, without averaging the EEG first. We found that, in both dark and light, parietal and occipital gamma power increased during the saccade and peaked prior to reaching new fixation. We show that this is not the result of muscle activity and not the result of visual input during saccades. Saccade direction affects the laterality of gamma power over posterior electrodes. Gamma power recorded over the posterior scalp increases during a saccade. The phasic modulation of gamma by saccades in darkness-when occipital activity is decoupled from visual input-provides electrophysiological evidence that voluntary saccades affect ongoing EEG. We suggest that saccade-phasic gamma modulation may contribute to short-term plasticity required to realign the visual space to the intended fixation point of a saccade and provides a mechanism for neuronal assembly formation prior to achieving the intended saccadic goal. The wavelet-transformed perisaccadic EEG could provide an electrophysiological tool applicable in humans for the purpose of fine analysis and potential separation of stages of 'planning' and 'action'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-432
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence


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