Covert attention suppresses neuronal responses in area 7a of the posterior parietal cortex

M. A. Steinmetz, C. E. Connor, C. Constantinidis, J. R. McLaughlin

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87 Scopus citations


1. The effect of covert attention was studied in area 7a of the posterior parietal cortex of rhesus monkeys performing a spatial match-to-sample task. The task required the animals to fixate a central target light, to detect and remember the location of a transient spatial cue, and to respond when one of a series of stimuli appeared at the cued location. Neuronal responses evoked by the visual stimuli were recorded during each behavioral trial. 2. Thirty- eight percent of the neurons isolated and studied in these experiments responded to visual stimuli. The responses of 55% of the neurons tested were suppressed, and 5% enhanced for stimuli presented at the attended location. Responses in the remaining neurons (40%) were unaffected by shifts in attention. 3. Activity in 57% of the suppressed neurons was reduced to rates not significantly different from spontaneous activity. 4. The extent of suppression for individual neurons was often restricted to the attended portion of the receptive field. 5. These data suggest a potential role for these neurons in the redirection of visual attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1020-1023
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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