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Sarah Shomstein, Marlene Behrmann; Goal-directed attentional orienting in patients with dorsal parietal lesions. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):690. doi: 10.1167/5.8.690.
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Over the past several years there has been a flurry of neuroimaging studies implicating a fronto-parietal network of areas as the neural mechanism subserving attentional orienting. In particular, it has been suggested that ventral parietal cortex including the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) mediates stimulus-driven attentional orienting (i.e., attentional capture), while the dorsal parietal region, including the superior parietal lobule (SPL), subserves goal-directed orienting. In the present study, we investigated patients with deficits in attentional orienting who have acquired lesions to the dorsal part of the fronto-parietal attentional network. Patients were tested on three attentional tasks: the Posner covert attentional cuing task, a goal-directed attentional shifting task (cross-hemifield RSVP monitoring two targets and switching or maintaining attention as per cue), and a visual capture task (monitoring central target and inhibiting interference from salient distarctors). Performance on the Posner task, which includes both elements of attentional orienting (goal-directed and stimulus-driven), was poor. Patients performed similarly to matched controls on the visual capture task but not on the goal-directed orienting task. Patients were particularly impaired on goal-directed attentional shifts to and away from the affected (i.e., neglected) hemifield. These results are consistent with the view that the dorsal part of the fronto-parietal network subserves goal-directed, and not stimulus-driven, attentional orienting.
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