Journal of Neuroscience vol:35 issue:8 pages:3446-3459
Single neurons in the frontal eye fields (FEFs) and lateral intraparietal area (LIP) of macaques are preferentially activated by saccade- versus reach-related processes. fMRI studies focusing on saccade- and reach-specific activity in human cortex, however, provided conflicting evidence for effector specificity. To gain further insights into effector preferences throughout monkey cortex using the same technique as in humans, we performed a mixed block/event-related fMRI experiment in macaques. Within single fMRI runs, monkeys alternated between a visually guided saccade task, a visually guided arm movement task, and a fixation-only task requiring no saccades or arm movements. The detection of a peripheral pop-out go cue initiating the required operant behavior and the identification of a target among distractors was identical in the arm and saccade tasks. We found saccade-related activity in parietal areas V6, V6A, LIP, and caudal intraparietal area and frontal areas FEF, 45a, 45b, and 46. Areas 45 and FEF even showed markedly decreased fMRI activity during arm movements relative to fixation only. Conversely, medial and anterior intraparietal areas (MIP and AIP), and parietal area PEip; somatosensory areas S1 and S2; and (pre)motor areas F1, F3, F5, and F6 showed increased arm movement-related activity. F1, F5, PEip, and somatosensory cortex also showed deactivations during saccades relative to fixation only. Control experiments showed that such deactivations in both operant-specific functional networks did not depend on training history or rapid task switching requiring active suppression of the unpreferred operant behavior. Therefore, although both tasks required divided attention to detect a pop-out go cue and target, two largely segregated and mainly effector-driven cortical networks were activated.