Attention to a location in a visual scene affects neuronal responses in visual cortical areas in a retinotopically specific manner. Optical imaging studies have revealed that cortical responses consist of two components of different sizes: the stimulus-nonspecific global signal and the stimulus-specific mapping signal (domain activity). It remains unclear whether either or both of these components are modulated by spatial attention. In this study, to determine the spatial distribution of attentional modulation at columnar resolution, we performed cerebral blood volume (CBV)-based optical imaging in area V4 of monkeys performing a color change detection task in which spatial attention was manipulated. We found that spatial attention enhanced global signals of the hemodynamic responses, but did not affect stimulus-selective domain activities. These results indicate the involvement of global signals in neural processing of spatial attention. We propose that global signals reflect the neural substrate of the normalization pool in normalization models of attention.
Keywords: cerebral blood volume; column; global signals; intrinsic signal optical imaging; mapping signals; normalization model; spatial attention.