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Trial-by-trial correlation between BOLD signals and shifts of spatial attention

Trial-by-trial correlation between BOLD signals and shifts of spatial attention

Society for Neuroscience Abstract Viewer & Itinerary Planner : Abstract No 180 15

Attending to a location indicated by a cue increases the BOLD response in frontal and parietal regions. We hypothesized that trial to trial variation in the BOLD response to the cue in these regions correlates with variation in identifying a subsequent target, reflecting the extent to which the cue reduces spatial uncertainty. An arrow pointed to one of 4 corners of an invisible square centered on fixation. Eleven seconds after cue onset, 4 circular windows (one at each corner) containing moving dots were briefly presented. Three windows contained only incoherently moving dots while one window also contained dots moving coherently in a single direction (up, down, right, left). The subject's task was to report the direction of motion. The cue correctly indicated the window containing the coherent motion on 80% of the trials (valid trials). On 20% (invalid trials), the motion occurred in one of the other 3 windows. A single subject was tested in multiple sessions using an event related, widely spaced fMRI design. We predicted that larger BOLD responses during the cue period would correlate with more effective use of the cue, leading to more accurate performance on valid trials and less accurate performance on invalid trials. This prediction was confirmed when the cue pointed to the lower right quadrant. On valid trials, correct responses were preceded by larger and more sustained BOLD signals than incorrect responses in frontal (FEF, SMA, Precentral), parietal (vIPS) and occipital areas (MT, fusiform). On invalid trials, correct responses were preceded by smaller BOLD signals than incorrect responses in these regions. The dependence of the results on the cued quadrant reflects larger behavioral effects of the cue at that location. Our results suggest that BOLD response magnitude in dorsal frontal-parietal regions reflects the degree to which attention is directed to the location indicated by the cue.

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Accession: 035985901

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