"As the eyes move, activity related to the remembered target travels across the 'visual' cells in the mid-brain superior colliculus, constantly keeping track of its location relative to the direction the eyes are currently pointed," said professor J Douglas Crawford, Canada research chair in visual-motor neuroscience.

Like in a football game when it is time to aim an eye movement and then make a pass toward the open receiver, the visual memory is transferred to motor cells which then produce a burst of activity.

The researchers discovered a new physiological system that continuously updates the remembered location of visual targets.

The finding also suggest that continuous updating of signals could emerge in other visual-motor areas of the brain.

"We expect that continuous updating signals also emerge in other visual-motor areas of the brain," Crawford added.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology.

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