Voluntary orienting is dissociated from target detection in human posterior parietal cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2000 Mar;3(3):292-7. doi: 10.1038/73009.


Human ability to attend to visual stimuli based on their spatial locations requires the parietal cortex. One hypothesis maintains that parietal cortex controls the voluntary orienting of attention toward a location of interest. Another hypothesis emphasizes its role in reorienting attention toward visual targets appearing at unattended locations. Here, using event-related functional magnetic resonance (ER-fMRI), we show that distinct parietal regions mediated these different attentional processes. Cortical activation occurred primarily in the intraparietal sulcus when a location was attended before visual-target presentation, but in the right temporoparietal junction when the target was detected, particularly at an unattended location.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Reaction Time
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Fields / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*