Cortical mechanisms of space-based and object-based attentional control

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2003 Apr;13(2):187-93. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(03)00033-3.


Visual attention, the mechanism by which observers select relevant or important information from scenes, can be deployed to locations in space or to spatially invariant object representations. Studies have examined both the modulatory effects of attention on the strength of extrastriate cortical representations, and the control of attention by parietal and frontal cortical circuits. Subregions of parietal and frontal cortex are transiently active when attention is voluntarily shifted between spatial locations or object representations. This transient activity may reflect an abrupt shift in the attentional set of the observer, complementing sustained signals that are thought to maintain a given attentive state.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*