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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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Government Grants Promoting Cruelty to Animals

Stanford University, Stanford, CA

TIRIN MOORE - Primate Testing - 2006

Grant Number: 5R01EY014924-03
Project Title: Interaction of Visual and Oculomotor Signals in Cortex
PI Information: TIRIN MOORE, [email protected] 

Visual spatial attention is a critical mental operation that allows us to selectively process only relevant information in the face of an overabundance of visual input. Understanding the underlying neural mechanisms of this phenomenon is central to our understanding of the neural basis of cognition and central to any hope of ameliorating disorders of attention in human patients.

Ours and other recent work suggests that better knowledge of the interplay between visual and oculomotor mechanisms may be the key to establishing a causal neural basis of spatial attention. Thus, the long-term goal of this proposal is to understand the reciprocal interactions between oculomotor and vision mechanisms in the primate brain. This goal will be pursued via the following three aims:

Our first aim is to test the causal role of frontal cortical saccade mechanisms in directinq covert spatial attention and in drivinq selection in visual cortex. Neuronal activity within the frontal eye field (FEF) will be inactivated pharmacologically and we will examine the effect of this on the ability of monkeys to voluntarily direct attention covertly to the affected part of space, and on the degree to which the widely observed neural correlates of attention in extrastriate area V4 are eliminated.

Our second aim is to compare the changes in visual qain observed in extrastriate cortex during FEF microstimulation with the known effects of covert spatial attention. We will examine how the changes in V4 responses caused by subthreshold FEF microstimulation in passively fixating monkeys parallel the modulations observed in animals trained to direct covert attention voluntarily.

Our third aim is to examine the relationship between the probability that a saccade will be made to a visual stimulus and the gain of visual cortical responses to that stimulus. We will directly manipulate saccade probability by systematically varying the parameters of FEF microstimulation and study the effect of this manipulation on the gain of visual responses in area V4.

This research may provide insight into the physiological basis of disorders of attention in humans, which affect up to 5% of children in the U.S, and may also provide insight into problems of visual-oculomotor coordination, such as dyslexia, which affects approximately 10% of U.S. citizens.

Thesaurus Terms:
attention, neural information processing, neuropsychology, neuroregulation, psychomotor function, saccade, visual cortex, visual pathway, visual perception, visual threshold brain electrical activity, visual stimulus, visual tracking Macaca fascicularis, Macaca mulatta, behavior test

Fiscal Year: 2006
Project Start: 20-SEP-2004
Project End: 31-JUL-2009

Published online before print May 21, 2007, 10.1073/pnas.0701104104
PNAS | May 29, 2007 | vol. 104 | no. 22 | 9499-9504


Rapid enhancement of visual cortical response discriminability by microstimulation of the frontal eye field

Katherine M. Armstrong* and Tirin Moore

Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305

Communicated by Charles G. Gross, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, February 8, 2007 (received for review November 19, 2006)


General and Surgical Procedures. Four male monkeys (two Macaca mulatta and two Macaca fascicularis, 410 kg) were used in these experiments. All experimental procedures were in accordance with National Institutes of Health Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, the Society for Neuroscience Guidelines and Policies, and Stanford University Administrative Panel on Laboratory Animal Care.

General experimental and surgical procedures have been described previously (45). Each animal was surgically implanted with a head post, a scleral eye coil, and two recording chambers. Surgery was conducted by using aseptic techniques under general anesthesia (isoflurane), and analgesics were provided during postsurgical recovery. Two craniotomies were performed on each animal, allowing access to dorsal V4, on the prelunate gyrus, and FEF, on the anterior bank of the arcuate sulcus.

Please email: TIRIN MOORE, [email protected] to protest the inhumane use of animals in this experiment. We would also love to know about your efforts with this cause: [email protected]

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Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

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