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Fast and slow parietal pathways mediate spatial attention


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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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.

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Correspondence to Christopher D Chambers.

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Chambers, C., Payne, J., Stokes, M. et al. Fast and slow parietal pathways mediate spatial attention. Nat Neurosci 7, 217–218 (2004).

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