The time course of cortical facilitation during cued shifts of spatial attention

Nat Neurosci. 1998 Nov;1(7):631-4. doi: 10.1038/2865.


Adaptive behavior requires the rapid switching of attention among potentially relevant stimuli that appear in the environment. The present study used an electrophysiological approach to continuously measure the time course of visual pathway facilitation in human subjects as attention was shifted from one location to another. Steady-state visual evoked potentials (SSVEPs) were recorded to rapidly flickering lights at attended and unattended locations, and variations in SSVEP amplitude over time were calculated after a cue to shift attention. The build-up of cortical facilitation reflected in SSVEP amplitude was found to bear a close temporal relationship with the emergence of accurate target discriminations at the newly attended location.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cues
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*