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Neuroimage. 2002 Oct;17(2):988-98.

Attention to action: specific modulation of corticocortical interactions in humans.

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  • 1Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, United Kingdom. j.rowe@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

The prefrontal cortex may exert cognitive control by a general mechanism of attentional selection of neuronal representations. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to test this hypothesis in the motor system. Normal volunteers were scanned during performance of a simple motor task, with their attention either directed towards their actions, or diverted towards a visual search task, or neither. Attention to action increased activity in prefrontal, premotor and parietal cortex, compared with unattended performance of the same movements. Analysis of cortical activity by structural equation modelling of regional fMRI time series was used to measure effective connectivity among prefrontal, premotor and parietal cortices. Attention to action enhanced effective connectivity between dorsal prefrontal cortex and premotor cortex, whereas non-motor attention diminished it. These effects were not attributable to common inputs from parietal cortex to the prefrontal and premotor cortex. The results suggest a supra-modal role for the dorsal prefrontal cortex in attentional selection, operating within the motor system as well as sensory and mnemonic domains.

PMID:
12377172
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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