Abstract

“Priming of pop-out” is a form of implicit memory that facilitates detection of a recently inspected search target. Repeated presentation of a target's features or its spatial position improves detection speed (feature/spatial priming). This study investigated a role for the human frontal eye fields (FEFs) in the priming of color pop-out. To test the hypothesis that the FEFs play a role in short-term memory storage, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was applied during the intertrial interval. There was no effect of TMS on either spatial or feature priming. To test whether the FEFs are important when a saccade is being programmed to a repeated target color or location, TMS was applied during the search array. TMS over the left but not the right FEFs abolished spatial priming, but had no effect on feature priming. These findings demonstrate functional specialization of the left FEFs for spatial priming, and distinguish this role from target discrimination and saccade-related processes. The results suggest that the left FEFs integrate a spatial memory signal with an evolving saccade program, which facilitates saccades to a recently inspected location.

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