Separate modulations of human V1 associated with spatial attention and task structure

Neuron. 2006 Jul 6;51(1):135-47. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.06.003.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used while normal human volunteers engaged in simple detection and discrimination tasks, revealing separable modulations of early visual cortex associated with spatial attention and task structure. Both modulations occur even when there is no change in sensory stimulation. The modulation due to spatial attention is present throughout the early visual areas V1, V2, V3, and VP, and varies with the attended location. The task structure activations are strongest in V1 and are greater in regions that represent more peripheral parts of the visual field. Control experiments demonstrate that the task structure activations cannot be attributed to visual, auditory, or somatosensory processing, the motor response for the detection/discrimination judgment, or oculomotor responses such as blinks or saccades. These findings demonstrate that early visual areas are modulated by at least two types of endogenous signals, each with distinct cortical distributions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Blinking / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Movement / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Touch / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*