Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Neurosci. 2009 Jan;12(1):85-91. doi: 10.1038/nn.2237. Epub 2008 Dec 21.

Task-specific signal transmission from prefrontal cortex in visual selective attention.

Author information

Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


Our voluntary behaviors are thought to be controlled by top-down signals from the prefrontal cortex that modulate neural processing in the posterior cortices according to the behavioral goal. However, we have insufficient evidence for the causal effect of the top-down signals. We applied a single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation over the human prefrontal cortex and measured the strength of the top-down signals as an increase in the efficiency of neural impulse transmission. The impulse induced by the stimulation transmitted to different posterior visual areas depending on the domain of visual features to which subjects attended. We also found that the amount of impulse transmission was associated with the level of attentional preparation and the performance of visual selective-attention tasks, consistent with the causal role of prefrontal top-down signals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center