Feature-based attention modulates orientation-selective responses in human visual cortex

Neuron. 2007 Jul 19;55(2):313-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.06.030.


How does feature-based attention modulate neural responses? We used adaptation to quantify the effect of feature-based attention on orientation-selective responses in human visual cortex. Observers were adapted to two superimposed oblique gratings while attending to one grating only. We measured the magnitude of attention-induced orientation-selective adaptation both psychophysically, by the behavioral tilt aftereffect, and physiologically, using fMRI response adaptation. We found evidence for orientation-selective attentional modulation of neuronal responses-a lower fMRI response for the attended than the unattended orientation-in multiple visual areas, and a significant correlation between the magnitude of the tilt aftereffect and that of fMRI response adaptation in V1, the earliest site of orientation coding. These results show that feature-based attention can selectively increase the response of neuronal subpopulations that prefer the attended feature, even when the attended and unattended features are coded in the same visual areas and share the same retinotopic location.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Female
  • Field Dependence-Independence*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Perceptual Masking / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Reference Values
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*