Frontal Lobe Injury - Determining The Effects - Types of Tests - Saccade

Saccade

A saccade is a fast movement of the eyes in a certain direction. In the most simplistic form, there are two types of saccade tests administered in which the only requirement is movement of the eye: the prosaccade and the antisaccade. In the prosaccade, participants are required to quickly look toward a point in response to some attention-catching cue, such as a flashing light. Because there are very powerful evolutionary forces that work to automatically focus attention toward prepotent (greater in power) stiumuli, this type of test does not call upon an individual’s executive control; therefore, the prosaccade is not relevant when testing the effects of frontal lobe damage on executive cognitive control and working memory. Conversely, the antisaccade test requires not only ignoring the flashing cue, but looking in the opposite direction. This task calls for inhibition of a prepotent response as well as planning and executing an eye movement that contradicts instinct. In the anti-saccade test, an individual has to set the goal of ignoring these instincts and continue to ‘’maintain’’ this goal. Those with frontal lobe injuries show lower working memory, and therefore typically do not test well in the antisaccade test.

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