Scientific article

The attention network of the human brain: relating structural damage associated with spatial neglect to functional imaging correlates of spatial attention

Published inNeuropsychologia, vol. 49, no. 11, p. 3063-3070
Publication date2011

Functional imaging studies of spatial attention regularly report activation of the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and dorsal premotor cortex including the frontal eye fields (FEF) in tasks requiring overt or covert shifting of attention. In contrast, lesion-overlap studies of patients with spatial neglect - a syndrome characterized by severe impairments of spatial attention - show that the critical damage concerns more ventral regions, comprising the inferior parietal lobule, the temporal-parietal junction (TPJ), and the superior temporal gyrus. We performed voxel-based lesion-symptom mapping of 29 right-hemisphere stroke patients, using several performance indices derived from a cueing task as measures of spatial attention. In contrast to previous studies, we focused our analyses on eight regions of interest defined according to results of previous functional imaging studies. A direct comparison of neglect with control patients revealed that neglect was associated with damage to the TPJ, the middle frontal gyrus, and the posterior IPS. The latter region was also a significant predictor of the degree of contralesional slowing of target detection and the extent to which ipsilesional distracters captured attention of neglect patients. Finally, damage to the FEF and posterior IPS was negatively correlated with the tendency of neglect patients to orient attention toward behaviourally relevant distracters. These findings support the results of functional imaging studies of spatial attention and provide evidence for a network account of neglect, according to which attentional selection of relevant environmental stimuli and the reorienting of attention result from dynamic interactions between the IPS, the dorsal premotor cortex, and the TPJ.

  • Aged
  • Attention/physiology
  • Brain/physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality/physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net/physiology
  • Parietal Lobe/physiology
  • Perceptual Disorders/physiopathology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance/physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Space Perception/physiology
  • Temporal Lobe/physiology
Citation (ISO format)
PTAK, Radek, SCHNIDER, Armin. The attention network of the human brain: relating structural damage associated with spatial neglect to functional imaging correlates of spatial attention. In: Neuropsychologia, 2011, vol. 49, n° 11, p. 3063–3070. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2011.07.008
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0028-3932

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