Neural correlates of goal-directed and non-goal-directed movements.

Affiliation

Sendhilnathan N(1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6), Basu D(6), Goldberg ME(7)(3)(4)(5)(8)(9), Schall JD(10)(11), Murthy A(6).
Author information:
(1)Doctoral Program in Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027; [Email] [Email]
(2)Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
(3)Mahoney-Keck Center for Brain and Behavior Research, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
(4)Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
(5)New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, NY 10032.
(6)Center for Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.
(7)Department of Neuroscience, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027; [Email] [Email]
(8)Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
(9)Department of Neurology, Psychiatry, and Ophthalmology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032.
(10)Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235.
(11)Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235.

Abstract

What are the cortical neural correlates that distinguish goal-directed and non-goal-directed movements? We investigated this question in the monkey frontal eye field (FEF), which is implicated in voluntary control of saccades. Here, we compared FEF activity associated with goal-directed (G) saccades and non-goal-directed (nG) saccades made by the monkey. Although the FEF neurons discharged before these nG saccades, there were three major differences in the neural activity: First, the variability in spike rate across trials decreased only for G saccades. Second, the local field potential beta-band power decreased during G saccades but did not change during nG saccades. Third, the time from saccade direction selection to the saccade onset was significantly longer for G saccades compared with nG saccades. Overall, our results reveal unexpected differences in neural signatures for G versus nG saccades in a brain area that has been implicated selectively in voluntary control. Taken together, these data add critical constraints to the way we think about saccade generation in the brain.