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Psychophysiology. 2003 Sep;40(5):827-31.

Early posterior ERP components do not reflect the control of attentional shifts toward expected peripheral events.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, London, England, UK.


Previous experiments investigating ERP correlates of anticipatory attention shifts triggered by central symbolic cues have identified a contralateral "early directing attention negativity," which was assumed to be generated by processes involved in the control of spatial orienting. Here we demonstrate that this component is not directly linked to the control of attentional shifts, but instead reflects the selection of task-relevant aspects of cue stimuli. In contrast, later ERP components triggered during covert attentional shifts are insensitive to physical cue attributes, and thus appear to be genuine electrophysiological correlates of covert attentional control mechanisms.

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