The purpose of this study was to identify the brain regions activated in relation to oculomotor sequence learning. Nine healthy subjects participated in the study, which consisted of three positron emission tomography scans. In the initial learning task, subjects were instructed to track a sequence of seven successive positions of visual targets and to memorize the order of the targets as well as their spatial locations. In the saccade task, subjects were instructed to track visual targets presented at random locations. In the control task, subjects were instructed to gaze at a fixation point. Fields showing significant regional cerebral blood flow change were determined from task-minus-control subtraction images. We determined that fields in the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), the intraparietal cortex, and the prefrontal cortex were activated not only in the learning-minus-control images but also in the learning-minus-saccade images. Although prefrontal and parietal activations were bilateral, pre-SMA activation was confined to the left hemisphere. The results indicate that these fields function as a part of the neural network involved in the learning of sequential saccadic eye movements.
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