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Doug Munoz
Queen's University

Using Eye Movements To Probe Brain Function And Dysfunction

Saccadic eye movements are controlled by a network of brain areas that span frontal and parietal cortices, basal ganglia, thalamus, midbrain, brainstem, and cerebellum. Thus, the eye movement system provides an excellent model to probe normal brain function and development, as well as dysfunction that arises in a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. In this talk, MUNOZ will discuss results from monkey neurophysiology experiments, human functional imaging experiments, and behavioural experiments involving various patient groups to show how the eye movement system can be used as a tool to study brain function and dysfunction.  The talk will focus on the use of the anti-saccade task as an experimental tool because this task requires voluntary control over the eye movement system and provides a measure of impulse control.  Monkey neurophysiological experiments are used to identify critical elements in the neural circuitry required to perform the task correctly. Functional brain imaging experiments are used to identify critical elements of the circuit in normal humans. Finally, studies of patient groups, especially attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, are used to reveal how task performance is compromised when part of the network is dysfunctional.