Distinct neural mechanisms of distractor suppression in the frontal and parietal lobe

Nat Neurosci. 2013 Jan;16(1):98-104. doi: 10.1038/nn.3282. Epub 2012 Dec 16.


The posterior parietal cortex and the prefrontal cortex are associated with eye movements and visual attention, but their specific contributions are poorly understood. We compared the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) in monkeys using a memory saccade task in which a salient distractor flashed at a variable timing and location during the memory delay. We found that the two areas had similar responses to target selection, but made distinct contributions to distractor suppression. Distractor responses were more strongly suppressed and more closely correlated with performance in the dlPFC relative to LIP. Moreover, reversible inactivation of the dlPFC produced much larger increases in distractibility than inactivation of LIP. These findings suggest that LIP and dlPFC mediate different aspects of selective attention. Although both areas can contribute to the perceptual selection of salient information, the dlPFC has a decisive influence on whether and how attended stimulus is linked with actions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Biophysics
  • Frontal Lobe / cytology*
  • Frontal Lobe / drug effects
  • GABA-A Receptor Agonists / pharmacology
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscimol / pharmacology
  • Neurons / classification
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / cytology*
  • Parietal Lobe / drug effects
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • GABA-A Receptor Agonists
  • Muscimol