Human fMRI evidence for the neural correlates of preparatory set.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study readiness and intention signals in frontal and parietal areas that have been implicated in planning saccadic eye movements-the frontal eye fields (FEF) and intraparietal sulcus (IPS). To track fMRI signal changes correlated with readiness to act, we used an event-related design with variable gap periods between disappearance of the fixation point and appearance of the target. To track changes associated with intention, subjects were instructed before the gap period to make either a pro-saccade (look at target) or an anti-saccade (look away from target). FEF activation increased during the gap period and was higher for anti- than for pro-saccade trials. No signal increases were observed during the gap period in the IPS. Our findings suggest that within the frontoparietal networks that control saccade generation, the human FEF, but not the IPS, is critically involved in preparatory set, coding both the readiness and intention to perform a particular movement.