Common trends observed in many visual and oculomotor-related cortical areas include retinotopically organized receptive and movement fields exhibiting a Gaussian shape and increasing size with eccentricity. These trends are demonstrated in the frontal eye fields (FEF), many visual areas, and the superior colliculus (SC), but have not been thoroughly characterized in prearcuate area 8Ar of the prefrontal cortex. This is important since area 8Ar, located anterior to the FEF, is more cytoarchitectonically similar to prefrontal areas than premotor areas. Here we recorded the responses of 166 neurons in area 8Ar of two male macaques while the animals made visually guided saccades to a peripheral sine-wave grating stimulus positioned at one of 40 possible locations (8 angles along 5 eccentricities). To characterize the neurons' receptive and movement fields, we fit a bivariate Gaussian model to the baseline-subtracted average firing rate during stimulus presentation (early and late visual epoch) and prior to saccade onset (presaccadic epoch). 121/166 neurons showed spatially selective visual and presaccadic responses. Of the visually selective neurons, 76% preferred the contralateral visual hemifield, whereas 24% preferred the ipsilateral hemifield. The angular width of visual and movement-related fields scaled positively with increasing eccentricity. Moreover, responses of neurons with visual receptive fields were modulated by target contrast exhibiting sigmoid tuning curves that resemble those of visual neurons in upstream areas such as MT and V4. Finally, we found that neurons with receptive fields at similar spatial locations were clustered within the area; however, this organization did not appear retinotopic.
- prefrontal cortex
- receptive fields
- target selection
- Copyright © 2016, Journal of Neurophysiology