DOI: 10.7554/elife.93213.3 ISSN: 2050-084X

Causal role of the frontal eye field in attention-induced ocular dominance plasticity

Fangxing Song, Xue Dong, Jiaxu Zhao, Jue Wang, Xiaohui Sang, Xin He, Min Bao
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience

Previous research has found that prolonged eye-based attention can bias ocular dominance. If one eye long-termly views a regular movie meanwhile the opposite eye views a backward movie of the same episode, perceptual ocular dominance will shift towards the eye previously viewing the backward movie. Yet it remains unclear whether the role of eye-based attention in this phenomenon is causal or not. To address this issue, the present study relied on both the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) techniques. We found robust activation of the frontal eye field (FEF) and intraparietal sulcus (IPS) when participants were watching the dichoptic movie while focusing their attention on the regular movie. Interestingly, we found a robust effect of attention-induced ocular dominance shift when the cortical function of vertex or IPS was transiently inhibited by continuous theta burst stimulation (cTBS), yet the effect was significantly attenuated to a negligible extent when cTBS was delivered to FEF. A control experiment verified that the attenuation of ocular dominance shift after inhibitory stimulation of FEF was not due to any impact of the cTBS on the binocular rivalry measurement of ocular dominance. These findings suggest that the fronto-parietal attentional network is involved in controlling eye-based attention in the ‘dichoptic-backward-movie’ adaptation paradigm, and in this network, FEF plays a crucial causal role in generating the attention-induced ocular dominance shift.

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