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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Sep 11;115(37):E8755-E8764. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1804643115. Epub 2018 Aug 28.

Distinct roles of prefrontal and parietal areas in the encoding of attentional priority.

Author information

1
Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Heraklion, 70013 Crete, Greece.
2
Department of Basic Sciences, Medical School, University of Crete, Heraklion, 71003 Crete, Greece.
3
Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics, Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Heraklion, 70013 Crete, Greece; gregoriou@uoc.gr.

Abstract

When searching for an object in a crowded scene, information about the similarity of stimuli to the target object is thought to be encoded in spatial priority maps, which are subsequently used to guide shifts of attention and gaze to likely targets. Two key cortical areas that have been described as holding priority maps are the frontal eye field (FEF) and the lateral intraparietal area (LIP). However, little is known about their distinct contributions in priority encoding. Here, we compared neuronal responses in FEF and LIP during free-viewing visual search. Although saccade selection signals emerged earlier in FEF, information about the target emerged at similar latencies in distinct populations within the two areas. Notably, however, effects in FEF were more pronounced. Moreover, LIP neurons encoded the similarity of stimuli to the target independent of saccade selection, whereas in FEF, encoding of target similarity was strongly modulated by saccade selection. Taken together, our findings suggest hierarchical processing of saccade selection signals and parallel processing of feature-based attention signals within the parietofrontal network with FEF having a more prominent role in priority encoding. Furthermore, they suggest discrete roles of FEF and LIP in the construction of priority maps.

KEYWORDS:

feature-based attention; frontal eye field; lateral intraparietal area; saccades; visual search

PMID:
30154164
PMCID:
PMC6140495
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1804643115
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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