Selective attention is a core cognitive ability that enables organisms to effectively process and act upon relevant information while ignoring distracting events. Elucidating the neural bases of selective attention remains a key challenge for neuroscience and represents an essential aim in translational efforts to ameliorate attentional deficits in a wide variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. Moreover, knowledge about the cognitive and neural mechanisms of attention is essential for developing and refining brain-machine interfaces, and for advancing methods for training and education. We will discuss how functional imaging methods have helped us to understand fundamental aspects of attention: How attention is controlled, focused on relevant inputs, and reoriented, and how this control results in the selection of relevant information. Work from our groups and from others will be reviewed. We will focus on fMRI methods, but where appropriate will include related discussion of electromagnetic recording methods used in conjunction with fMRI, including simultaneous EEG/fMRI methods.