Manipulation of pre-target activity on the right frontal eye field enhances conscious visual perception in humans

PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36232. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036232. Epub 2012 May 15.


The right Frontal Eye Field (FEF) is a region of the human brain, which has been consistently involved in visuo-spatial attention and access to consciousness. Nonetheless, the extent of this cortical site's ability to influence specific aspects of visual performance remains debated. We hereby manipulated pre-target activity on the right FEF and explored its influence on the detection and categorization of low-contrast near-threshold visual stimuli. Our data show that pre-target frontal neurostimulation has the potential when used alone to induce enhancements of conscious visual detection. More interestingly, when FEF stimulation was combined with visuo-spatial cues, improvements remained present only for trials in which the cue correctly predicted the location of the subsequent target. Our data provide evidence for the causal role of the right FEF pre-target activity in the modulation of human conscious vision and reveal the dependence of such neurostimulatory effects on the state of activity set up by cue validity in the dorsal attentional orienting network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
  • Visual Fields*
  • Visual Perception*
  • Young Adult