Sensory Systems | Cognitive Neuroscience | Motor Systems | Neuroimaging
Overlapping neural circuits for visuospatial attention and voluntary eye movements in human cerebellum
Christopher Striemer*, Melvyn Goodale, Sandrine de Ribaupierre
*Corresponding author: Christopher Striemer
Department of Psychology, Grant MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada
F1000Posters 2012, 3: 734 (poster) [English]
Poster [327.52 KB]
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting 2012, 11 - 16 May 2012, 26.502
Previous research in patients with cerebellar damage suggests that the cerebellum may play a role in visual attention. One limitation of some of these studies is that they examined patients with heterogeneous cerebellar damage. As a result, the patterns of reported deficits have been inconsistent. In the current study we used functional neuroimaging (fMRI) in healthy adults (n= 14) to examine whether the cerebellum plays an important role in visual attention.
Results indicated that, in addition to the usual fronto-parietal networks commonly engaged by this visual attention task, two regions of the cerebellum (lobule 6 in the left posterior quadrangular lobe and the culmen) were active when subjects performed the attention task with peripheral cues with or without concomitant eye movements. The same regions of the cerebellum were not active, however, when subjects performed the covert attention task using central arrow cues. This suggests that the cerebellum may play a critical role in both shifting attention and generating eye movements towards stimuli that suddenly appear in the periphery. These results are consistent with the pre-motor theory of attention which posits that shifts of attention are generated through the programming of eye movements that are not executed.
No relevant competing interests disclosed.
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