Neural Synchrony in Saccadic Target Selection in the Macaque Frontal Eye Field
How visual targets are selected for eye movements is a fundamental neural coding problem for all animals that see with a fovea. The strength of the model of the neuron as a coincidence detector suggests neural synchrony is a plausible, if not intrinsic, part of the cortical code. Moreover, synchrony has been proposed as a neural mechanism for the allocation of attention in visual processing. To investigate a synchronous ensemble code for saccadic target selection in the frontal eye field (FEF), the gravity algorithm was applied to simultaneously recorded neurons in a macaque monkey performing color singleton search. In addition to developing an original measure of statistical significance for the gravity method, this thesis demonstrates the existence of synchrony in the search process. The functional influence of synchrony in the distribution of visual attention, however, or in gating broad population responses in FEF, requires further interpretation.