Attentional modulation of visual motion processing in cortical areas MT and MST

Nature. 1996 Aug 8;382(6591):539-41. doi: 10.1038/382539a0.


The visual system is constantly inundated with information received by the eyes, only a fraction of which seems to reach visual awareness. This selection process is one of the functions ascribed to visual attention. Although many studies have investigated the role of attention in shaping neuronal representations in the visual cortex, few have focused on attentional modulation of neuronal signals related to visual motion. Here we report that the responses of direction-selective neurons in monkey visual cortex are greatly influenced by attention, and that this modulation occurs as early in the cortical hierarchy as the level of the middle temporal visual area (MT). Our finding demonstrates a stronger and earlier influence of attention on motion processing along the dorsal visual pathway than previously recognized.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Macaca
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology