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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2002 Aug 29;357(1424):1063-72.

The role of attention in visual processing.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Division of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, One Baylor Plaza, S-603, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Attention to a visual stimulus typically increases the responses of cortical neurons to that stimulus. Because many studies have shown a close relationship between the performance of individual neurons and behavioural performance of animal subjects, it is important to consider how attention affects this relationship. Measurements of behavioural and neuronal performance taken from rhesus monkeys while they performed a motion detection task with two attentional states show that attention alters the relationship between behaviour and neuronal response. Notably, attention affects the relationship differently in different cortical visual areas. This indicates that a close relationship between neuronal and behavioural performance on a given task persists over changes in attentional state only within limited regions of visual cortex.

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