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Vision Res. 2013 Jun 7;85:104-12. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2013.03.009. Epub 2013 Apr 3.

Visual spatial attention enhances the amplitude of positive and negative fMRI responses to visual stimulation in an eccentricity-dependent manner.

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School of Optometry, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Endogenous visual spatial attention improves perception and enhances neural responses to visual stimuli at attended locations. Although many aspects of visual processing differ significantly between central and peripheral vision, little is known regarding the neural substrates of the eccentricity dependence of spatial attention effects. We measured amplitudes of positive and negative fMRI responses to visual stimuli as a function of eccentricity in a large number of topographically-organized cortical areas. Responses to each stimulus were obtained when the stimulus was attended and when spatial attention was directed to a stimulus in the opposite visual hemifield. Attending to the stimulus increased both positive and negative response amplitudes in all cortical areas we studied: V1, V2, V3, hV4, VO1, LO1, LO2, V3A/B, IPS0, TO1, and TO2. However, the eccentricity dependence of these effects differed considerably across cortical areas. In early visual, ventral, and lateral occipital cortex, attentional enhancement of positive responses was greater for central compared to peripheral eccentricities. The opposite pattern was observed in dorsal stream areas IPS0 and putative MT homolog TO1, where attentional enhancement of positive responses was greater in the periphery. Both the magnitude and the eccentricity dependence of attentional modulation of negative fMRI responses closely mirrored that of positive responses across cortical areas.

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