Abstract

We investigated the characteristics of saccades made by cats in response to single and double stimuli. Stimuli were either visual, auditory, or bimodal. We initially trained cats to look toward the location of briefly presented single visual or single auditory targets that were extinguished before the initiation of eye movements. Following training, we monitored eye movements during and after the presentation of double targets, either two visual, two auditory, or bimodal, that were at disparate spatial locations. Cats made saccadic eye movements to positions that ranged between the location of the two targets. If the eye position at the start of a saccade was near the mid point of the targets, cats were less likely to initiate a saccade, and saccadic latencies were longer, compared to when starting eye position was at a distance from this location. These behavioral results are consistent with the hypothesis that the neural representations of briefly presented targets are combined and treated as a unitary, low resolution stimulus from which an orienting motor program is derived. The similarity of responses to double visual, double auditory, and bimodal stimuli suggests that a common sensorimotor mechanism applies within and between these sensory modalities.

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