Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Parietal cortex has been implicated in the updating, after eye movements, of a salience map that is required for coherent visual experience and for the control of visually guided behavior. The current experiment investigated whether TMS over anterior intraparietal cortex (AIPCx), just after a saccade, would affect the ability to update and maintain a salience map. In order to generate a salience map, we employed a paradigm in which an uninformative cue was presented at one object in a display to generate inhibition of return (IOR)—an inhibitory tag that renders the cued object less salient than others in the display, and that slows subsequent responses to visual transients at its location. Following the cue, participants made a saccade to either left or right, and we then probed for updating of the location of IOR by measuring manual reaction time to targets appearing at cued location of the cued compared to an uncued object. Between the time of saccade initiation and target appearance, dual-pulse TMS was targeted over right (Experiment 1) or left AIPCx (Experiment 2), and a vertex control side. Updating of the location of IOR was eliminated by TMS over right, but not the left, AIPCx, suggesting that right parietal cortex is involved in the remapping of IOR. Remapping was eliminated by right AIPCx, regardless of whether the saccade was made to the left (contralateral), or right (ipsilateral) visual field, and regardless of which field the target appeared in. We conclude that right AIPCx is the neural substrate for maintaining a salience map across saccades, and not simply for propagating an efference copy of saccade commands.