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Spatial Attention Changes Excitability of Human Visual Cortex to Direct Stimulation

Bestmann, S; Ruff, CC; Blakemore, C; Driver, J; Thilo, KV; (2007) Spatial Attention Changes Excitability of Human Visual Cortex to Direct Stimulation. Current Biology , 17 (2) pp. 134-139. 10.1016/j.cub.2006.11.063.

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Abstract

Conscious perception depends not only on sensory input, but also on attention [1, 2]. Recent studies in monkeys [3-6] and humans [7-12] suggest that influences of spatial attention on visual awareness may reflect top-down influences on excitability of visual cortex. Here we tested this specifically, by providing direct input into human visual cortex via cortical transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to produce illusory visual percepts, called phosphenes. We found that a lower TMS intensity was needed to elicit a conscious phosphene when its apparent spatial location was attended, rather than unattended. Our results indicate that spatial attention can enhance visual-cortex excitability, and visual awareness, even when sensory signals from the eye via the thalamic pathway are bypassed. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: Spatial Attention Changes Excitability of Human Visual Cortex to Direct Stimulation
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2006.11.063
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/2525
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