Cortical localization of human sustained attention: detection with functional MR using a visual vigilance paradigm

J Comput Assist Tomogr. 1996 Sep-Oct;20(5):695-701. doi: 10.1097/00004728-199609000-00002.


Purpose: Our goal was to determine whether functional MRI on a standard 1.5 T system can localize activation during a visual vigilance sustained attention task and whether this corresponds to results described in a PET investigation of a similar task.

Method: Sixteen volunteers were studied on a 1.5 T system using a gradient echo technique. A single axial section was oriented within a stereotaxic coordinate space, 40 mm superior to the anterior-posterior commissure line. Images with eyes closed were followed by images during subject concentration on a small dim spot. Motion correction and pixel-by-pixel statistical analysis were performed. Talairach grids were applied for summary statistical analysis and comparison to PET data, with analysis using a series of planned contrasts within a repeated measures analysis of variance.

Results: Predominantly right-sided frontal and parietal activation was observed, with statistical significance across subjects in the right frontal lobe (F > or = 5.9, p < or = 0.041). Comparison with previously reported PET data yielded a very similar pattern of activation (F = 13.2; df = 1,8; p = 0.007).

Conclusion: Activation of the right middle frontal gyrus and right parietal lobe during visual vigilance is detectable across functional imaging modalities.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed
  • Visual Perception / physiology*