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Parietal disruption impairs reflexive spatial attention within and between sensory modalities

Chambers, CD; Payne, JMM; J, B; (2007) Parietal disruption impairs reflexive spatial attention within and between sensory modalities. Neuropsychologia , 45 (8) 1715 - 1724.

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Abstract

Reflexive spatial attention is critical for controlling perception and action. An established body of evidence suggests that mechanisms of spatial attention operate both within and between sensory modalities; however the attentional mechanisms that link modalities in the human brain are unclear. Here we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to explore the role of the parietal cortex in coordinating reflexive shifts of spatial attention between vision and touch. In two experiments, healthy participants localised visual and somatosensory targets that were preceded by non-informative visual or somatosensory spatial cues. To determine the role of parietal cortex in spatial orienting, TMS was delivered synchronously with cue onset for 100ms. Results revealed a critical role of the right angular gyrus and supramarginal gyrus in reflexive orienting to visual and somatosensory targets that followed a somatosensory cue. In contrast, the same TMS protocol was ineffective in modulating reflexive orienting based on visual cues. This dependence on cue modality may reflect subcortical redundancy of visual orienting mechanisms. Overall, our results indicate a critical role of the inferior parietal cortex in mediating reflexive shifts of attention within and between sensory modalities.

Type:Article
Title:Parietal disruption impairs reflexive spatial attention within and between sensory modalities
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences

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