The neural mechanisms of top-down attentional control

J B Hopfinger, M H Buonocore, and G R Mangun (2000). Nat Neurosci, 3(3):284-91.

Selective visual attention involves dynamic interplay between attentional control systems and sensory brain structures. We used event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a cued spatial-attention task to dissociate brain activity related to attentional control from that related to selective processing of target stimuli. Distinct networks were engaged by attention-directing cues versus subsequent targets. Superior frontal, inferior parietal and superior temporal cortex were selectively activated by cues, indicating that these structures are part of a network for voluntary attentional control. This controlbiased activity in multiple visual cortical areas, resulting in selective sensory processing of relevant visual targets.

Link to PubMed entry