Saccadic eye movements and the basal ganglia

Corinne R. Vokoun, Safraaz Mahamed and Michele A. Basso

in The Oxford Handbook of Eye Movements

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780199539789
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Saccadic eye movements and the basal ganglia

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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Located deep within the telencephalon, the basal ganglia (BG) refer to an aggregate of subcortical structures that relay cortical signals through at least two pathways. The classical model of BG function suggests the existence of reciprocal pathways: a ‘direct pathway’ which releases movement and an ‘indirect pathway’ which prevents movement. However, more recent evidence suggests a more nuanced role of the BG in volitional movement, as well as more complex connectivity and pathways. Neuronal recordings and anatomical experiments within the BG and its output structures have provided a fairly comprehensive scheme for understanding the neuronal control of voluntary saccades. Thus, experiments using eye movements play a central role in revealing BG function and testing BG models.

Keywords: basal ganglia; neuronal activity; saccades; eye movements; direct pathway

Article.  13315 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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