On the origin of event-related potentials indexing covert attentional selection during visual search

J Neurophysiol. 2009 Oct;102(4):2375-86. doi: 10.1152/jn.00680.2009. Epub 2009 Aug 12.


Despite nearly a century of electrophysiological studies recording extracranially from humans and intracranially from monkeys, the neural generators of nearly all human event-related potentials (ERPs) have not been definitively localized. We recorded an attention-related ERP component, known as the N2pc, simultaneously with intracranial spikes and local field potentials (LFPs) in macaques to test the hypothesis that an attentional-control structure, the frontal eye field (FEF), contributed to the generation of the macaque homologue of the N2pc (m-N2pc). While macaques performed a difficult visual search task, the search target was selected earliest by spikes from single FEF neurons, later by FEF LFPs, and latest by the m-N2pc. This neurochronometric comparison provides an empirical bridge connecting macaque and human experiments and a step toward localizing the neural generator of this important attention-related ERP component.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Macaca radiata
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Reaction Time
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*