• Open Access

Concurrent TMS–fMRI reveals dynamic interhemispheric influences of the right parietal cortex during exogenously cued visuospatial attention

Authors

  • Klaartje Heinen,

    1. UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK
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  • Christian C. Ruff,

    1. UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK
    2. Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research, University of Zurich, IEW, Zurich, Switzerland
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  • Otto Bjoertomt,

    1. UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK
    2. Sobell Department for Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK
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  • Bertram Schenkluhn,

    1. School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Wales, UK
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  • Sven Bestmann,

    1. Sobell Department for Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology, University College London, London, UK
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  • Felix Blankenburg,

    1. UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK
    2. Department of Neurology and Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Charité, Berlin, Germany
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  • Jon Driver,

    1. UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK
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  • Christopher D. Chambers

    1. UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AR, UK
    2. School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Wales, UK
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Dr Klaartje Heinen, as above.
E-mail: k.heinen@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

We used concurrent transcranial magnetic stimulation and functional MRI (TMS-fMRI) during a visuospatial cueing paradigm in humans, to study the causal role of the right angular gyrus (AG) as a source of attentional control. Our findings show that TMS over the right AG (high vs. low intensity) modulates neural responses interhemispherically, in a manner that varies dynamically with the current attentional condition. The behavioural impact of such TMS depended not only on the target hemifield but also on exogenous cue validity, facilitating spatial reorienting to invalidly cued right visual targets. On a neural level, right AG TMS had corresponding interhemispheric effects in the left AG and left retinotopic cortex, including area V1. We conclude that the direction of covert visuospatial attention can involve dynamic interplay between the right AG and remote interconnected regions of the opposite left hemisphere, whereas our findings also suggest that the right AG can influence responses in the retinotopic visual cortex.

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