Recent brain-imaging and neurophysiological data indicate that attention is neither a property of a single brain area, nor of the entire brain. While attentional effects seem mediated by a relative amplification of blood flow and electrical activity in the cortical areas processing the attended computation, the details of how this is done through enhancement of attended or suppression of unattended items, or both, appear to depend on the task and brain-area studied. The origins of these amplification effects are to be found in specialized cortical areas of the frontal and parietal lobes that have been described as the anterior and posterior attention systems. These results represent substantial progress in the effort to determine how brain activity is regulated through attention. While many philosophical and practical issues remain in developing an understanding of attentional regulation, the new tools available should provide the basis for progress.