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Behav Brain Res. 2009 Jan 30;197(1):186-97. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.08.028. Epub 2008 Aug 29.

Top-down attentional control in spatially coincident stimuli enhances activity in both task-relevant and task-irrelevant regions of cortex.

Author information

1
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 405 North Mathews Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.

Abstract

Models of selective attention predict that focused attention to spatially contiguous stimuli may result in enhanced activity in areas of cortex specialized for processing task-relevant and task-irrelevant information. We examined this hypothesis by localizing color-sensitive areas (CSA) and word and letter sensitive areas of cortex and then examining modulation of these regions during performance of a modified version of the Stroop task in which target and distractors are spatially coincident. We report that only the incongruent condition with the highest cognitive demand showed increased activity in CSA relative to other conditions, indicating an attentional enhancement in target processing areas. We also found an enhancement of activity in one region sensitive to word/letter processing during the most cognitively demanding incongruent condition indicating greater processing of the distractor dimension. Correlations with performance revealed that top-down modulation during the task was critical for effective filtering of irrelevant information in conflict conditions. These results support predictions made by models of selective attention and suggest an important mechanism of top-down attentional control in spatially contiguous stimuli.

PMID:
18804123
PMCID:
PMC2845993
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbr.2008.08.028
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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