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Direct evidence for attention-dependent influences of the frontal eye-fields on feature-responsive visual cortex


Heinen, Klaartje; Feredoes, Eva; Weiskopf, Nikolaus; Ruff, Christian C; Driver, Jon (2014). Direct evidence for attention-dependent influences of the frontal eye-fields on feature-responsive visual cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 24(11):2815-2821.

Abstract

Voluntary selective attention can prioritize different features in a visual scene. The frontal eye-fields (FEF) are one potential source of such feature-specific top-down signals, but causal evidence for influences on visual cortex (as was shown for "spatial" attention) has remained elusive. Here, we show that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applied to right FEF increased the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signals in visual areas processing "target feature" but not in "distracter feature"-processing regions. TMS-induced BOLD signals increase in motion-responsive visual cortex (MT+) when motion was attended in a display with moving dots superimposed on face stimuli, but in face-responsive fusiform area (FFA) when faces were attended to. These TMS effects on BOLD signal in both regions were negatively related to performance (on the motion task), supporting the behavioral relevance of this pathway. Our findings provide new causal evidence for the human FEF in the control of nonspatial "feature"-based attention, mediated by dynamic influences on feature-specific visual cortex that vary with the currently attended property.

Abstract

Voluntary selective attention can prioritize different features in a visual scene. The frontal eye-fields (FEF) are one potential source of such feature-specific top-down signals, but causal evidence for influences on visual cortex (as was shown for "spatial" attention) has remained elusive. Here, we show that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applied to right FEF increased the blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signals in visual areas processing "target feature" but not in "distracter feature"-processing regions. TMS-induced BOLD signals increase in motion-responsive visual cortex (MT+) when motion was attended in a display with moving dots superimposed on face stimuli, but in face-responsive fusiform area (FFA) when faces were attended to. These TMS effects on BOLD signal in both regions were negatively related to performance (on the motion task), supporting the behavioral relevance of this pathway. Our findings provide new causal evidence for the human FEF in the control of nonspatial "feature"-based attention, mediated by dynamic influences on feature-specific visual cortex that vary with the currently attended property.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:November 2014
Deposited On:28 Jan 2014 12:35
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 20:50
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:1047-3211
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bht157
PubMed ID:23794715

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