Sensorimotor-linked reward modulates smooth pursuit eye movements in monkeys

Yongxiang Hu, Huan Wang, Mati Joshua, Yan Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reward is essential for shaping behavior. Using sensory cues to imply forthcoming rewards, previous studies have demonstrated powerful effects of rewards on behavior. Nevertheless, the impact of reward on the sensorimotor transformation, particularly when reward is linked to behavior remains uncertain. In this study, we investigated how reward modulates smooth pursuit eye movements in monkeys. Three distinct associations between reward and eye movements were conducted in independent blocks. Results indicated that reward increased eye velocity during the steady-state pursuit, rather than during the initiation. The influence depended on the particular association between behavior and reward: a faster eye velocity was linked with reward. Neither rewarding slower eye movements nor randomizing rewards had a significant effect on behavior. The findings support the existence of distinct mechanisms involved in the initiation and steady-state phases of pursuit, and contribute to a deeper understanding of how reward interacts with these two periods of pursuit.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1297914
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2024 Hu, Wang, Joshua and Yang.


  • initiation
  • reward
  • smooth pursuit eye movements
  • steady state
  • visual motion


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