October 2020
Volume 20, Issue 11
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   October 2020
Attentional competition in perceptual and reflective attention: An fMRI study
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Zachary J. Cole
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Evan N. Lintz
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Matthew R. Johnson
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  NSF/EPSCoR 1632849
Journal of Vision October 2020, Vol.20, 1730. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1730
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      Zachary J. Cole, Evan N. Lintz, Matthew R. Johnson; Attentional competition in perceptual and reflective attention: An fMRI study. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1730. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1730.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The frontal eye fields (FEF) are most strongly associated with eye movements and their planning, and have also been implicated in visual attention. In a previous study (Johnson & Johnson, 2009), we found that they were also activated by inward-directed (reflective) attention. In addition, when participants fixated on one stimulus and ignored another, the FEF were activated more than in a control condition that involved a greater number of eye movements. In the present study, we investigated both of those effects further, and sought to more precisely delineate the similarities and differences between the perceptual and reflective attention networks. Participants were scanned while completing either a perceptual or reflective attention task. In both tasks, participants saw mixed pairs of items drawn from a set of face, scene, or noise images. In the perceptual attention task, participants were cued immediately beforehand either to fixate only on one image and ignore the other, or ignore both images. The reflective attention task was the same, except that the cues were presented immediately after the images. In the reflective attention task, participants kept their eyes at central fixation, and the post-cues instructed them to think back to (visualize) either one of the images, or neither image. Analyses of the fMRI data showed that activity in the FEF appeared to be modulated by the presence of visually meaningful competition that could not be explained just by the amount of visual information onscreen. Furthermore, the results replicate and extend previous findings indicating substantial overlap, but also substantial distinctions, between the perceptual and reflective attention networks.


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