We have previously proposed that enhanced 16–24 Hz (beta) local field potential activity in the primary visual cortex and lateral geniculate nucleus may be an electrophysiological correlate of the attentional mechanism that increases the gain of afferent visual information flow to the cortex. In this study, we measured coupling between beta signals recorded in the thalamic (i.e. lateral geniculate or perigeniculate) and cortical representations of the central visual field (within 5° from area centralis), during visual and auditory attentive situations. Signal coupling was calculated in two ways: (i) by means of crosscorrelation between raw beta activities, which depends primarily on phase coherence, and (ii) by phase-independent crosscorrelation between amplitude envelopes of beta activities. Mean amplitudes of raw signal crosscorrelations obtained for thalamo-cortical recording pairs were not significantly different when calculated during behavioural demands for either visual or auditory attention. In contrast, amplitudes of envelope crosscorrelations obtained during behaviour requiring visual attention were, on average, two times higher than those calculated during the auditory task. This attention-related coupling emerged from synchronized amplitude modulation of beta oscillatory activity that occurs within the cortico-thalamic circuit involved in central vision.