Attention mechanisms in visual search: An fMRI study

  • Leonards U
  • Sunaert S
  • Van Hecke P
 et al. 
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In this functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study, the authors investigated the cortical networks involved in efficient and inefficient types of visual search, concentrating on predictions derived from parallel and serial models. 12 right-handed normal volunteers (aged 19-29 yrs) participated. Results show that the cerebral networks involved in efficient and inefficient search overlap almost completely. Only the superior frontal region, known to be involved in working memory (S. M. Courtney et al, 1998), and distinct from the frontal eye fields, that control spatial shifts of attention, was specifically involved in inefficient search. Activity modulations correlated with Ss' behavior best in the extrastriate cortical areas, where the amount of activity depended on the number of distracting elements in the display. Such a correlation was not observed in the parietal and frontal regions, usually assumed as being involved in spatial attention processing. The most likely interpretation of these is that visual search does not require serial processing; otherwise one must assume the existence of a serial searchlight that operates in the extrastriate cortex but differs from the visuospatial shifts of attention involving the parietal and frontal regions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Attention
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Models
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neuropsychology & Neurology [2520]
  • Visual Search
  • inefficient visual search, 19-29 yr old Ss
  • parallel vs serial models in cortical networks inv

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  • Ute Leonards

  • Stefan Sunaert

  • Paul Van Hecke

  • Guy A Orban

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