Neural substrates of perceptual enhancement by cross-modal spatial attention

J Cogn Neurosci. 2003 Jan 1;15(1):10-9. doi: 10.1162/089892903321107783.


Orienting attention involuntarily to the location of a sudden sound improves perception of subsequent visual stimuli that appear nearby. The neural substrates of this cross-modal attention effect were investigated by recording event-related potentials to the visual stimuli using a dense electrode array and localizing their brain sources through inverse dipole modeling. A spatially nonpredictive auditory precue modulated visual-evoked neural activity first in the superior temporal cortex at 120-140 msec and then in the ventral occipital cortex of the fusiform gyrus 15-25 msec later. This spatio-temporal sequence of brain activity suggests that enhanced visual perception produced by the cross-modal orienting of spatial attention results from neural feedback from the multimodal superior temporal cortex to the visual cortex of the ventral processing stream.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Masks
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Space Perception
  • Spatial Behavior
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*