Functional connectivity in vergence and saccade eye movement tasks assessed using Granger Causality Analysis.

Yelda Alkan, Tara Alvarez, Suril Gohel, Paul A. Taylor, Bharat B. Biswal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Throughout the day, the human visual system acquires information using saccade and vergence eye movements. Previously, functional MRI (fMRI) experiments have shown both shared neural resources and spatial differentiation between these two systems. FMRI experiments can reveal which regions are activated within an experimental task but do not yield insight into how regions of interest (ROIs) interact with each other. This study investigated the number and direction of influences among ROIs using a Granger Causality Analysis (GCA) - a statistical technique used to identify if an ROI is significantly influencing or 'connected' to another ROI. Two stimulus protocols were used: first, a simple block design of fixation versus random eye movements; and second, a more cognitively demanding task using random versus predictable movements. Each protocol used saccadic movements and was then repeated using vergence movements. Eight subjects participated in each of the four experiments. Results show that when prediction was evoked, more connections between ROIs were observed compared to the simple tracking experiment. More connections were also observed during the vergence prediction task compared to the saccade prediction task. Differences within the number of connections may be due to the type of oculomotor eye movements, as well as to the amount of higher-level executive cognitive demand.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Health Informatics


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