Robert H. Wurtz

Larry R. Squire

in The History of Neuroscience in Autobiography

Seventh edition

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195396133
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918409 | DOI:
Robert H. Wurtz

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Robert Wurtz developed methods for studying the visual system in awake behaving monkeys, a technique now widely used for the study of higher brain functions. He has pioneered the use of this technique to explore the neuronal basis of active vision, the integration of the visual, oculomotor, and cognitive functions underlying visual perception. He has done so in collaboration with a series of postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have gone on to become leaders in the field of systems neuroscience. His discoveries with these collaborators include establishing the functional organization of the primate superior colliculus, its role in generating saccadic eye movements, and its contribution to higher functions including visual attention; the identification of a brain circuit for a corollary discharge of eye movements and the possible contribution of this corollary to stable visual perception; the circuit connecting the basal ganglia to the superior colliculus and the nature of its inhibitory action; the contribution of cortical visual motion processing to perception, pursuit eye movements, and the registration of large field optic flow. He was founding Chief of the Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research in the National Eye Institute of the NIH.

Keywords: monkeys; oculomotor; visual perception; superior colliculus; eye movements

Chapter.  24034 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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