The neural mechanisms of top-down attentional control

J. B. Hopfinger, M. H. Buonocore, George R Mangun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1381 Scopus citations


Selective visual attention involves dynamic interplay between attentional control systems and sensory brain structures. We used event- related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a cued spatial- attention task to dissociate brain activity related to attentional control from that related to selective processing of target stimuli. Distinct networks were engaged by attention-directing cues versus subsequent targets. Superior frontal, inferior parietal and superior temporal cortex were selectively activated by cues, indicating that these structures are part of a network for voluntary attentional control. This control biased activity in multiple visual cortical areas, resulting in selective sensory processing of relevant visual targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-291
Number of pages8
JournalNature Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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