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Trends Neurosci. 2001 May;24(5):295-300.

Neural correlates of attention in primate visual cortex.

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University of Tübingen, Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Dept of Neurology, Auf der Morgenstelle 15, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The processing of visual information combines bottom-up sensory aspects with top-down influences, most notably attentional processes. Attentional influences have now been demonstrated throughout visual cortex, and their influence on the processing of visual information is profound. Neuronal responses to attended locations or stimulus features are enhanced, whereas those from unattended locations or features are suppressed. This influence of attention increases as one ascends the hierarchy of visual areas in primate cortex, ultimately resulting in a neural representation of the visual world that is dominated by the behavioral relevance of the information, rather than designed to provide an accurate and complete description of it. This realization has led to a rethinking of the role of areas that have previously been considered to be "purely sensory".

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