Regulation of attention to novel stimuli by frontal lobes: an event-related potential study

Neuroreport. 1998 Mar 30;9(5):787-91. doi: 10.1097/00001756-199803300-00004.


This study examined the relationship between orienting responses to novel events and subsequent exploratory behavior. The N2-P3 electrophysiologic component of the orienting response was found to be larger for novel than repetitive background stimuli. Across subjects, the amplitude of this N2-P3 response in frontal regions strongly predicted the proportional increase in the duration of viewing directed toward novel compared to background stimuli. Within subjects, larger N2-P3 amplitudes in response to novel stimuli were associated with longer viewing durations on those stimuli. These results suggest that the N2-P3 component of the orienting response reflects the activity of a neural system involving frontal networks that dynamically regulates the subsequent allocation of attentional resources to novel stimuli.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Time Factors