Cognitive functions of the posterior parietal cortex: top-down and bottom-up attentional control

Front Integr Neurosci. 2012 Jul 4;6:38. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2012.00038. eCollection 2012.


Although much less is known about human parietal cortex than that of homologous monkey cortex, recent studies, employing neuroimaging, and neuropsychological methods, have begun to elucidate increasingly fine-grained functional and structural distinctions. This review is focused on recent neuroimaging and neuropsychological studies elucidating the cognitive roles of dorsal and ventral regions of parietal cortex in top-down and bottom-up attentional orienting, and on the interaction between the two attentional allocation mechanisms. Evidence is reviewed arguing that regions along the dorsal areas of the parietal cortex, including the superior parietal lobule (SPL) are involved in top-down attentional orienting, while ventral regions including the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) are involved in bottom-up attentional orienting.

Keywords: attention; bottom-up attention; capture; inferior parietal lobule (IPL); parietal cortex; superior parietal lobule (SPL); temporo-parietal junction (TPJ); top-down attention.