Paying attention through eye movements: A computational investigation of the premotor theory of spatial attention

Marco Casarotti, Matteo Lisi, Carlo Umiltà, Marco Zorzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Growing evidence indicates that planning eye movements and orienting visuospatial attention share overlapping brain mechanisms. A tight link between endogenous attention and eye movements is maintained by the premotor theory, in contrast to other accounts that postulate the existence of specific attention mechanisms that modulate the activity of information processing systems. The strong assumption of equivalence between attention and eye movements, however, is challenged by demonstrations that human observers are able to keep attention on a specific location while moving the eyes elsewhere. Here we investigate whether a recurrent model of saccadic planning can account for attentional effects without requiring additional or specific mechanisms separate from the circuits that perform sensorimotor transformations for eye movements. The model builds on the basis function approach and includes a circuit that performs spatial remapping using an "internal forward model" of how visual inputs are modified as a result of saccadic movements. Simulations show that the latter circuit is crucial to account for dissociations between attention and eye movements that may be invoked to disprove the premotor theory. The model provides new insights into how spatial remapping may be implemented in parietal cortex and offers a computational framework for recent proposals that link visual stability with remapping of attention pointers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1519-1531
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume24
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

Fingerprint

Eye Movements
Parietal Lobe
planning
Automatic Data Processing
Information Systems
equivalence
information processing
Spatial Attention
Computational
brain
Brain
simulation
evidence
Planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Paying attention through eye movements : A computational investigation of the premotor theory of spatial attention. / Casarotti, Marco; Lisi, Matteo; Umiltà, Carlo; Zorzi, Marco.

In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 24, No. 7, 07.2012, p. 1519-1531.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Casarotti, Marco ; Lisi, Matteo ; Umiltà, Carlo ; Zorzi, Marco. / Paying attention through eye movements : A computational investigation of the premotor theory of spatial attention. In: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. 2012 ; Vol. 24, No. 7. pp. 1519-1531.
@article{8c826c0e0bfd4383b5320636c5a5c49c,
title = "Paying attention through eye movements: A computational investigation of the premotor theory of spatial attention",
abstract = "Growing evidence indicates that planning eye movements and orienting visuospatial attention share overlapping brain mechanisms. A tight link between endogenous attention and eye movements is maintained by the premotor theory, in contrast to other accounts that postulate the existence of specific attention mechanisms that modulate the activity of information processing systems. The strong assumption of equivalence between attention and eye movements, however, is challenged by demonstrations that human observers are able to keep attention on a specific location while moving the eyes elsewhere. Here we investigate whether a recurrent model of saccadic planning can account for attentional effects without requiring additional or specific mechanisms separate from the circuits that perform sensorimotor transformations for eye movements. The model builds on the basis function approach and includes a circuit that performs spatial remapping using an {"}internal forward model{"} of how visual inputs are modified as a result of saccadic movements. Simulations show that the latter circuit is crucial to account for dissociations between attention and eye movements that may be invoked to disprove the premotor theory. The model provides new insights into how spatial remapping may be implemented in parietal cortex and offers a computational framework for recent proposals that link visual stability with remapping of attention pointers.",
author = "Marco Casarotti and Matteo Lisi and Carlo Umilt{\`a} and Marco Zorzi",
year = "2012",
month = "7",
language = "English",
volume = "24",
pages = "1519--1531",
journal = "Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience",
issn = "0898-929X",
publisher = "MIT Press Journals",
number = "7",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Paying attention through eye movements

T2 - A computational investigation of the premotor theory of spatial attention

AU - Casarotti, Marco

AU - Lisi, Matteo

AU - Umiltà, Carlo

AU - Zorzi, Marco

PY - 2012/7

Y1 - 2012/7

N2 - Growing evidence indicates that planning eye movements and orienting visuospatial attention share overlapping brain mechanisms. A tight link between endogenous attention and eye movements is maintained by the premotor theory, in contrast to other accounts that postulate the existence of specific attention mechanisms that modulate the activity of information processing systems. The strong assumption of equivalence between attention and eye movements, however, is challenged by demonstrations that human observers are able to keep attention on a specific location while moving the eyes elsewhere. Here we investigate whether a recurrent model of saccadic planning can account for attentional effects without requiring additional or specific mechanisms separate from the circuits that perform sensorimotor transformations for eye movements. The model builds on the basis function approach and includes a circuit that performs spatial remapping using an "internal forward model" of how visual inputs are modified as a result of saccadic movements. Simulations show that the latter circuit is crucial to account for dissociations between attention and eye movements that may be invoked to disprove the premotor theory. The model provides new insights into how spatial remapping may be implemented in parietal cortex and offers a computational framework for recent proposals that link visual stability with remapping of attention pointers.

AB - Growing evidence indicates that planning eye movements and orienting visuospatial attention share overlapping brain mechanisms. A tight link between endogenous attention and eye movements is maintained by the premotor theory, in contrast to other accounts that postulate the existence of specific attention mechanisms that modulate the activity of information processing systems. The strong assumption of equivalence between attention and eye movements, however, is challenged by demonstrations that human observers are able to keep attention on a specific location while moving the eyes elsewhere. Here we investigate whether a recurrent model of saccadic planning can account for attentional effects without requiring additional or specific mechanisms separate from the circuits that perform sensorimotor transformations for eye movements. The model builds on the basis function approach and includes a circuit that performs spatial remapping using an "internal forward model" of how visual inputs are modified as a result of saccadic movements. Simulations show that the latter circuit is crucial to account for dissociations between attention and eye movements that may be invoked to disprove the premotor theory. The model provides new insights into how spatial remapping may be implemented in parietal cortex and offers a computational framework for recent proposals that link visual stability with remapping of attention pointers.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84861564568&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84861564568&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Article

C2 - 22452561

AN - SCOPUS:84861564568

VL - 24

SP - 1519

EP - 1531

JO - Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

JF - Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

SN - 0898-929X

IS - 7

ER -