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Attentional selection of location and modality in vision and touch modulates low-frequency activity in associated sensory cortices.

Bauer M, Kennett S, Driver J - J. Neurophysiol. (2012)

Bottom Line: Magnetoencephalography was recorded while participants performed a visual or tactile task.Spatial attention led to reduced α-oscillations over both sensorimotor and occipital cortex contralateral to the attended location in the cue-target interval, when either modality was task-relevant.The visual and sensorimotor results were generally highly convergent, yet, although attention effects in occipital cortex were dominant in the α-band, in sensorimotor cortex, these were also clearly present in the β-band.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, 12 Queen Square, London, WC1N3BG, United Kingdom. markus.bauer@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Selective attention allows us to focus on particular sensory modalities and locations. Relatively little is known about how attention to a sensory modality may relate to selection of other features, such as spatial location, in terms of brain oscillations, although it has been proposed that low-frequency modulation (α- and β-bands) may be key. Here, we investigated how attention to space (left or right) and attention to modality (vision or touch) affect ongoing low-frequency oscillatory brain activity over human sensory cortex. Magnetoencephalography was recorded while participants performed a visual or tactile task. In different blocks, touch or vision was task-relevant, whereas spatial attention was cued to the left or right on each trial. Attending to one or other modality suppressed α-oscillations over the corresponding sensory cortex. Spatial attention led to reduced α-oscillations over both sensorimotor and occipital cortex contralateral to the attended location in the cue-target interval, when either modality was task-relevant. Even modality-selective sensors also showed spatial-attention effects for both modalities. The visual and sensorimotor results were generally highly convergent, yet, although attention effects in occipital cortex were dominant in the α-band, in sensorimotor cortex, these were also clearly present in the β-band. These results extend previous findings that spatial attention can operate in a multimodal fashion and indicate that attention to space and modality both rely on similar mechanisms that modulate low-frequency oscillations.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Attention to modality. Topographies and time-frequency representations of modality relevance effect (regardless of attended side). A and B: time-frequency plot of α- and β-suppression for somatosensory (A) and occipital (B) sensors; sensor selection is marked in C and D, respectively. All plots show t-values. C and D: topography of attending touch minus vision for β- (C) and α- (D) bands (B), averaged over time-frequency windows marked in A and B, respectively.
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Figure 4: Attention to modality. Topographies and time-frequency representations of modality relevance effect (regardless of attended side). A and B: time-frequency plot of α- and β-suppression for somatosensory (A) and occipital (B) sensors; sensor selection is marked in C and D, respectively. All plots show t-values. C and D: topography of attending touch minus vision for β- (C) and α- (D) bands (B), averaged over time-frequency windows marked in A and B, respectively.

Mentions: Task schematics. A: experimental task setup. Participants fixate centrally, peripheral stimuli are presented to left or right, with tactile (Tac.) and visual (Vic.) stimuli in close spatial proximity. B: timeline: each trial starts with the presentation of a central cue for 100 ms, followed by a 700-ms empty interval, then presentation of either a tactile stimulus (0.5-ms electrical shock) or visual stimulus [light-emitting diode (LED) 200 ms]. Note that our magnetoencephalography (MEG) analyses focus on the cue-target interval, before target stimulus, to highlight pure top-down effects of preparatory attention (in absence of peripheral target stimulus-related effects). C: mapping of the visual or tactile (target) stimulus-induced responses (β-band suppression, 15–30 Hz) on the planar gradients. Left tactile stimuli suppress β-activity in predominantly right sensorimotor channels, and right tactile stimuli in left sensorimotor channels. Visual stimuli suppress β-activity in bilateral occipital channels. Note the spatial specificity of these response patterns. These sensors are used and labeled as sensorimotor and occipital channels throughout Figs. 2–4.


Attentional selection of location and modality in vision and touch modulates low-frequency activity in associated sensory cortices.

Bauer M, Kennett S, Driver J - J. Neurophysiol. (2012)

Attention to modality. Topographies and time-frequency representations of modality relevance effect (regardless of attended side). A and B: time-frequency plot of α- and β-suppression for somatosensory (A) and occipital (B) sensors; sensor selection is marked in C and D, respectively. All plots show t-values. C and D: topography of attending touch minus vision for β- (C) and α- (D) bands (B), averaged over time-frequency windows marked in A and B, respectively.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3362245&req=5

Figure 4: Attention to modality. Topographies and time-frequency representations of modality relevance effect (regardless of attended side). A and B: time-frequency plot of α- and β-suppression for somatosensory (A) and occipital (B) sensors; sensor selection is marked in C and D, respectively. All plots show t-values. C and D: topography of attending touch minus vision for β- (C) and α- (D) bands (B), averaged over time-frequency windows marked in A and B, respectively.
Mentions: Task schematics. A: experimental task setup. Participants fixate centrally, peripheral stimuli are presented to left or right, with tactile (Tac.) and visual (Vic.) stimuli in close spatial proximity. B: timeline: each trial starts with the presentation of a central cue for 100 ms, followed by a 700-ms empty interval, then presentation of either a tactile stimulus (0.5-ms electrical shock) or visual stimulus [light-emitting diode (LED) 200 ms]. Note that our magnetoencephalography (MEG) analyses focus on the cue-target interval, before target stimulus, to highlight pure top-down effects of preparatory attention (in absence of peripheral target stimulus-related effects). C: mapping of the visual or tactile (target) stimulus-induced responses (β-band suppression, 15–30 Hz) on the planar gradients. Left tactile stimuli suppress β-activity in predominantly right sensorimotor channels, and right tactile stimuli in left sensorimotor channels. Visual stimuli suppress β-activity in bilateral occipital channels. Note the spatial specificity of these response patterns. These sensors are used and labeled as sensorimotor and occipital channels throughout Figs. 2–4.

Bottom Line: Magnetoencephalography was recorded while participants performed a visual or tactile task.Spatial attention led to reduced α-oscillations over both sensorimotor and occipital cortex contralateral to the attended location in the cue-target interval, when either modality was task-relevant.The visual and sensorimotor results were generally highly convergent, yet, although attention effects in occipital cortex were dominant in the α-band, in sensorimotor cortex, these were also clearly present in the β-band.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, 12 Queen Square, London, WC1N3BG, United Kingdom. markus.bauer@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Selective attention allows us to focus on particular sensory modalities and locations. Relatively little is known about how attention to a sensory modality may relate to selection of other features, such as spatial location, in terms of brain oscillations, although it has been proposed that low-frequency modulation (α- and β-bands) may be key. Here, we investigated how attention to space (left or right) and attention to modality (vision or touch) affect ongoing low-frequency oscillatory brain activity over human sensory cortex. Magnetoencephalography was recorded while participants performed a visual or tactile task. In different blocks, touch or vision was task-relevant, whereas spatial attention was cued to the left or right on each trial. Attending to one or other modality suppressed α-oscillations over the corresponding sensory cortex. Spatial attention led to reduced α-oscillations over both sensorimotor and occipital cortex contralateral to the attended location in the cue-target interval, when either modality was task-relevant. Even modality-selective sensors also showed spatial-attention effects for both modalities. The visual and sensorimotor results were generally highly convergent, yet, although attention effects in occipital cortex were dominant in the α-band, in sensorimotor cortex, these were also clearly present in the β-band. These results extend previous findings that spatial attention can operate in a multimodal fashion and indicate that attention to space and modality both rely on similar mechanisms that modulate low-frequency oscillations.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus