Fast and slow parietal pathways mediate spatial attention

Abstract

Mechanisms of selective attention are vital for guiding human behavior. The parietal cortex has long been recognized as a neural substrate of spatial attention, but the unique role of distinct parietal subregions has remained unclear. Using single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation, we found that the angular gyrus of the right parietal cortex mediates spatial orienting during two distinct time periods after the onset of a behaviorally relevant event. The biphasic involvement of the angular gyrus suggests that both fast and slow visual pathways are necessary for orienting spatial attention.

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Figure 1: Typical display sequence for an invalidly cued trial.
Figure 2: Neural pathways, parietal stimulation sites and cueing results for the single-pulse TMS experiment.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Health & Medical Research Council (J.B.M.). We thank J. Driver, J. Duncan, I. Harris, A. Kritikos, A. Morris, M. O'Boyle, A. Rich, C. Spence, G. Stuart and M. Williams for discussions.

Author information

Correspondence to Christopher D Chambers.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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