Coupling between spontaneous (resting state) fMRI fluctuations and human oculo-motor activity

Michal Ramot, Meytal Wilf, Hagar Goldberg, Tali Weiss, Leon Y. Deouell, Rafael Malach*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

The recent discovery of incessant spontaneous fluctuations in human brain activity (also termed resting state fMRI) has been a focus of intense research in brain imaging. The spontaneous BOLD activity shows organized anatomical specialization as well as disruption in a number of brain pathologies. The link between the spontaneous fMRI fluctuations and human behavior is therefore of acute interest and importance. Here we report that a highly significant correlation exists between spontaneous BOLD fluctuations and eye movements which occur subliminally and spontaneously in the absence of any visual stimulation. Of the various eye movement parameters tested, we found robust and anatomically consistent correlations with both the amplitude and velocity of spontaneous eye movements. Control experiments ruled out a contribution of spatial and visual attention as well as smooth pursuit eye movements to the effect. The consistent anatomical specificity of the correlation patterns and their tight temporal link at the proper hemodynamic delay argues against a non-neuronal explanation of the effect, such as cardiac or respiratory cycles. Our results thus demonstrate a link between resting state and spontaneously emerging subconscious oculo-motor behavior.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)213-225
Number of pages13
JournalNeuroImage
Volume58
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank subjects for participating in the experiments. We thank Michal Harel for help with brain reconstruction. We thank Ilan Dinstein, Lior Fisch, and Roye Salomon for helpful comments and advice throughout the project. This study was supported by the Israel Science Foundation 160/07 , ISF-Bikura and Mark Scher's estate grants to Rafael Malach. M. R. is supported by an ICNC PhD. fellowship and the Hellen Kimmel Award for Innovative Investigation.

Keywords

  • Behavior
  • Consciousness
  • Eye movements
  • FMRI
  • Resting state
  • Spontaneous BOLD

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