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Nat Neurosci. 1999 Apr;2(4):364-9.

Involvement of striate and extrastriate visual cortical areas in spatial attention.

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Department of Psychology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0608, USA.


We investigated the cortical mechanisms of visual-spatial attention while subjects discriminated patterned targets within distractor arrays. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to map the boundaries of retinotopic visual areas and to localize attention-related changes in neural activity within several of those areas, including primary visual (striate) cortex. Event-related potentials (ERPs) and modeling of their neural sources, however, indicated that the initial sensory input to striate cortex at 50-55 milliseconds after the stimulus was not modulated by attention. The earliest facilitation of attended signals was observed in extrastriate visual areas, at 70-75 milliseconds. We hypothesize that the striate cortex modulation found with fMRI may represent a delayed, re-entrant feedback from higher visual areas or a sustained biasing of striate cortical neurons during attention. ERP recordings provide critical temporal information for analyzing the functional neuroanatomy of visual attention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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