We studied the effects of saccadic eye movements on visual signaling in the primate lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), the earliest stage of central visual processing. Visual responses were probed with spatially uniform flickering stimuli, so that retinal processing was uninfluenced by eye movements. Nonetheless, saccades had diverse effects, altering not only response strength but also the temporal and chromatic properties of the receptive field. Of these changes, the most prominent was a biphasic modulation of response strength, weak suppression followed by strong enhancement. Saccadic modulation was widespread, and affected both of the major processing streams in the LGN. Our results demonstrate that during natural viewing, thalamic response properties can vary dramatically, even over the course of a single fixation.
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