Endogenous and exogenous attention shifts are mediated by the same large-scale neural network

Neuroimage. 2004 Jun;22(2):822-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.01.044.


Event-related fMRI was used to examine the neural basis of endogenous (top-down) and exogenous (bottom-up) spatial orienting. Shifts of attention were induced by central (endogenous) or peripheral (exogenous) cues. Reaction times on subsequently presented targets showed the expected pattern of facilitation and inhibition in both conditions. No difference in brain activity was observed when the two orienting conditions were contrasted with a liberal threshold, showing that both forms of orienting were mediated by the same neural network. Compared to within-block control trials, both endogenous and exogenous orienting activated a fronto-parietal network consisting of premotor cortex, posterior parietal cortex, medial frontal cortex and right inferior frontal cortex. Within these regions, equally strong activation was observed for both orienting conditions. It is concluded that endogenous and exogenous orienting are mediated by the same large-scale network of frontal and parietal brain areas.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cues
  • Electrooculography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Reference Values