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Parietal stimulation decouples spatial and feature-based attention


Schenkluhn, B; Ruff, Christian C; Heinen, K; Chambers, C D (2008). Parietal stimulation decouples spatial and feature-based attention. Journal of Neuroscience, 28(44):11106-11110.

Abstract

Everyday visual scenes contain a vast quantity of information, only a fraction of which can guide our behavior. Properties such as the location, color and orientation of stimuli help us extract relevant information from complex scenes (Treisman and Gelade, 1980; Livingstone and Hubel, 1987). But how does the brain coordinate the selection of such different stimulus characteristics? Neuroimaging studies have revealed significant regions of overlapping activity in frontoparietal cortex during attention to locations and features, suggesting a global component to visual selection (Vandenberghe et al., 2001; Corbetta and Shulman, 2002; Giesbrecht et al., 2003; Slagter et al., 2007). At the same time, the neural consequences of spatial and feature-based attention differ markedly in early visual areas (Treue and Martinez-Trujillo, 2007), implying that selection may rely on more specific top-down processes. Here we probed the balance between specialized and generalized control by interrupting preparatory attention in the human parietal cortex with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We found that stimulation of the supramarginal gyrus (SMG) impaired spatial attention only, whereas TMS of the anterior intraparietal sulcus (aIPS) disrupted spatial and feature-based attention. The selection of different stimulus characteristics is thus mediated by distinct top-down mechanisms, which can be decoupled by cortical interference.

Everyday visual scenes contain a vast quantity of information, only a fraction of which can guide our behavior. Properties such as the location, color and orientation of stimuli help us extract relevant information from complex scenes (Treisman and Gelade, 1980; Livingstone and Hubel, 1987). But how does the brain coordinate the selection of such different stimulus characteristics? Neuroimaging studies have revealed significant regions of overlapping activity in frontoparietal cortex during attention to locations and features, suggesting a global component to visual selection (Vandenberghe et al., 2001; Corbetta and Shulman, 2002; Giesbrecht et al., 2003; Slagter et al., 2007). At the same time, the neural consequences of spatial and feature-based attention differ markedly in early visual areas (Treue and Martinez-Trujillo, 2007), implying that selection may rely on more specific top-down processes. Here we probed the balance between specialized and generalized control by interrupting preparatory attention in the human parietal cortex with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). We found that stimulation of the supramarginal gyrus (SMG) impaired spatial attention only, whereas TMS of the anterior intraparietal sulcus (aIPS) disrupted spatial and feature-based attention. The selection of different stimulus characteristics is thus mediated by distinct top-down mechanisms, which can be decoupled by cortical interference.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
08 University Research Priority Programs > Foundations of Human Social Behavior: Altruism and Egoism
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:25 Oct 2011 14:06
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:03
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3591-08.2008
PubMed ID:18971453
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-50206

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