The ability to anticipate predictable stimuli allows faster responses. The predictive saccade (PRED) task has been shown to quickly induce such anticipatory behavior in humans. In a PRED task subjects track a visual target jumping back and forth between fixed positions at a fixed time interval. During this task, saccade latencies drop from approximately 200 ms to <80 ms as subjects anticipate target appearance. This change in saccade latency indicates that subjects' behavior shifts from being sensory driven to being memory driven. We conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging studies with 10 healthy adults performing the PRED task using a standard block design. We compared the PRED task with a visually guided saccade (VGS) task using unpredictable targets matched for number, direction and amplitude of required saccades. Our results show greater activation during the PRED task in the prefrontal, pre-supplementary motor and anterior cingulate cortices, hippocampus, mediodorsal thalamus, striatum and cerebellum. The VGS task elicited greater activation in the cortical eye fields and occipital cortex. These results demonstrate the important dissociation between sensory and predictive neural control of similar saccadic eye movements. Anticipatory behavior induced by the PRED task required less sensory-related processing activity and was subserved by a distributed cortico-subcortical memory system including prefronto-striatal circuitry.
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