Task specific computations in attentional maps

Vision Res. 2009 Jun;49(10):1216-26. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2008.03.023. Epub 2008 May 27.


The lateral intraparietal area (LIP), a portion of monkey posterior parietal cortex, has been implicated in spatial attention. We review recent evidence from our laboratory showing that LIP encodes a priority map of the external environment that specifies the momentary locus of attention and is activated in a variety of behavioral tasks. The priority map in LIP is shaped by task-specific variables. We suggest that the multifaceted responses in LIP represent mechanisms for allocating attention, and that the attentional system may flexibly configure itself to meet the cognitive, motor and motivational demands of individual tasks.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Psychophysics
  • Saccades / physiology