Attentional modulation of neural processing of shape, color, and velocity in humans

Science. 1990 Jun 22;248(4962):1556-9. doi: 10.1126/science.2360050.


Positron emission tomography (PET) was used to measure changes in regional cerebral blood flow of normal subjects, while they were discriminating different attributes (shape, color, and velocity) of the same set of visual stimuli. Psychophysical evidence indicated that the sensitivity for discriminating subtle stimulus changes was higher when subjects focused attention on one attribute than when they divided attention among several attributes. Correspondingly, attention enhanced the activity of different regions of extrastriate visual cortex that appear to be specialized for processing information related to the selected attribute.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Color
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*