The appearance of a salient stimulus evokes a series of orienting responses including saccades and pupil size to prepare the body for appropriate action. The midbrain superior colliculus (SC) that receives critical control signals from the frontal eye field (FEF) is hypothesized to coordinate all components of orienting. It has shown recently that the FEF, together with the SC, is also importantly involved in the control of pupil size, in addition to its well-documented role in eye movements. Although the role of the FEF in pupil size is demonstrated in monkeys, its role in human pupil responses and the coordination between pupil size and saccades remains to be established. Through applying continuous theta-burst stimulation over the right FEF and vertex, we investigated the role of the FEF in human pupil and saccade responses evoked by a salient stimulus, and the coordination between pupil size and saccades. Our results showed that neither saccade reaction times (SRT) nor pupil responses evoked by salient stimuli were modulated by FEF stimulation. In contrast, the correlation between pupil size and SRTs in the contralateral stimulus condition was diminished with FEF stimulation, but intact with vertex stimulation. Moreover, FEF stimulation effects between saccade and pupil responses associated with salient stimuli correlated across participants. This is the first transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) study on the pupil orienting response, and our findings suggest that human FEF was involved in coordinating pupil size and saccades, but not involved in the control of pupil orienting responses.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||European Journal of Neuroscience|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2021|
- individual differences
- pupil light reflex
- superior colliculus
ASJC Scopus subject areas