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Isolating the internal in endogenous attention

Authors

  • Joseph B. Hopfinger,

    1. Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
    2. Biomedical Research Imaging Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • C. Christine Camblin,

    1. Department of Psychology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA
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  • Emily L. Parks

    1. Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
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  • This work was supported by NIMH grant R01 MH066034 to JBH.

Address reprint requests to: Joseph B. Hopfinger, Department of Psychology, CB 3270, Davie Hall, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3270. E-mail: hopfinger@unc.edu

Abstract

Neuroimaging studies have provided evidence that a bilateral frontal-parietal network is involved in voluntary attentional control. However, because those studies used instructive cue stimuli, some of the activity may have been due to interactions between cue processing and voluntary orienting. Here, we show that self-initiated voluntary orienting, in the absence of any cue stimulus, evokes activity in this frontal-parietal network. In contrast to the typical symmetric activity observed with cued attentional shifts, self-initiated shifts showed a hemispheric asymmetry consistent with studies of unilateral neglect patients. Specifically, the right hemisphere was equally involved in orienting to either visual field, whereas the left hemisphere was biased toward the contralateral field. Our data show that the asymmetry of attentional control can be revealed in neuroimaging of healthy subjects, when voluntary orienting is effectively isolated.

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