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J Neurosci. 2007 Oct 31;27(44):11986-90.

Different effects of voluntary and involuntary attention on EEG activity in the gamma band.

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University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Previous studies have shown that EEG activity in the gamma range can be modulated by attention. Here, we compared this activity for voluntary and involuntary spatial attention in a spatial-cueing paradigm with faces as targets. The stimuli and trial timing were kept constant across attention conditions with only the predictive value of the cue changing. Gamma-band response was linked to voluntary shifts of attention, but not to the involuntary capture of attention. The presence of increased gamma responses for the voluntary allocation of attention, and its absence in cases of involuntary capture suggests that the neural mechanisms governing these two types of attention are different. Moreover, these data allow a description of the temporal dynamics contributing to the dissociation between voluntary and involuntary attention. The distribution of this correlate of voluntary attention is consistent with a top-down process involving contralateral anterior and posterior regions.

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