Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Neurophysiol. 2004 Jul;92(1):622-9. Epub 2004 Feb 18.

Push-pull mechanism of selective attention in human extrastriate cortex.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Center for the Study of Brain, Mind, and Behavior, Princeton University, Green Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.


Selective attention operates in visual cortex by facilitating processing of selected stimuli and by filtering out unwanted information from nearby distracters over circumscribed regions of visual space. The neural representation of unattended stimuli outside this focus of attention is less well understood. We studied the neural fate of unattended stimuli using functional magnetic resonance imaging by dissociating the activity evoked by attended (target) stimuli presented to the periphery of a visual hemifield and unattended (distracter) stimuli presented simultaneously to a corresponding location of the contralateral hemifield. Subjects covertly directed attention to a series of target stimuli and performed either a low or a high attentional-load search task on a stream of otherwise identical stimuli. With this task, target-search-related activity increased with increasing attentional load, whereas distracter-related activity decreased with increasing load in areas V4 and TEO but not in early areas V1 and V2. This finding presents evidence for a load-dependent push-pull mechanism of selective attention that operates over large portions of the visual field at intermediate processing stages. This mechanism appeared to be controlled by a distributed frontoparietal network of brain areas that reflected processes related to target selection during spatially directed attention.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

LinkOut - more resources

Full Text Sources

Other Literature Sources

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center