Visually guided movements can be inaccurate, especially if unexpected events occur while the movement is programmed. Often errors of gaze are corrected before external feedback can be processed. Evidence is presented from macaque monkey frontal eye field (FEF), a cortical area that selects visual targets, allocates attention, and programs saccadic eye movements, for a neural mechanism that can correct saccade errors before visual afferent or performance monitoring signals can register the error. Macaques performed visual search for a color singleton that unpredictably changed position in a circular array as in classic double-step experiments. Consequently, some saccades were directed in error to the original target location. These were followed frequently by unrewarded, corrective saccades to the final target location. We previously showed that visually responsive neurons represent the new target location even if gaze shifted errantly to the original target location. Now we show that the latency of corrective saccades is predicted by the timing of movement-related activity in the FEF. Preceding rapid corrective saccades, the movement-related activity of all neurons began before explicit error signals arise in the medial frontal cortex. The movement-related activity of many neurons began before visual feedback of the error was registered and that of a few neurons began before the error saccade was completed. Thus movement-related activity leading to rapid corrective saccades can be guided by an internal representation of the environment updated with a forward model of the error.
- Copyright © 2007 by the American Physiological Society