Attentional bias of competitive interactions in neuronal networks of early visual processing in the human brain.
ABSTRACT Multiple objects in a visual scene compete for neuronal representation. We investigated competitive neuronal dynamics in cortical networks of early visual processing in the human brain. Coloured picture streams flickered at 7.42 Hz, evoking the steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP), an electrophysiological response of neuronal populations in early visual areas synchronised by the external pacemaker. While these picture streams were at a fixed location in the upper left and right quadrant, respectively, additional competing picture streams flickering at a different frequency were continuously changing the distance to the stationary streams by slow motion. Analysis of the 7.42 Hz SSVEP amplitude revealed significant amplitude decreases when the competing stimulus was closer than about 4.5 degrees of visual angle. Sources of the SSVEP suppression effect were found in early visual areas of the ventral and dorsal processing streams. Attending the stationary stimulus resulted in no difference in 7.42 Hz SSVEP amplitude regardless of spatial separation to the competing stimulus. Contrary to the predictions of the model, we found co-amplification of the competing stimulus at close spatial proximity accompanied by an increase of an intermodulation frequency, suggesting integrated neuronal processing of target and competing stimuli when both streams are close together.
Article: Behavioral performance follows the time course of neural facilitation and suppression during cued shifts of feature-selective attention.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A central question in the field of attention is whether visual processing is a strictly limited resource, which must be allocated by selective attention. If this were the case, attentional enhancement of one stimulus should invariably lead to suppression of unattended distracter stimuli. Here we examine voluntary cued shifts of feature-selective attention to either one of two superimposed red or blue random dot kinematograms (RDKs) to test whether such a reciprocal relationship between enhancement of an attended and suppression of an unattended stimulus can be observed. The steady-state visual evoked potential (SSVEP), an oscillatory brain response elicited by the flickering RDKs, was measured in human EEG. Supporting limited resources, we observed both an enhancement of the attended and a suppression of the unattended RDK, but this observed reciprocity did not occur concurrently: enhancement of the attended RDK started at 220 ms after cue onset and preceded suppression of the unattended RDK by about 130 ms. Furthermore, we found that behavior was significantly correlated with the SSVEP time course of a measure of selectivity (attended minus unattended) but not with a measure of total activity (attended plus unattended). The significant deviations from a temporally synchronized reciprocity between enhancement and suppression suggest that the enhancement of the attended stimulus may cause the suppression of the unattended stimulus in the present experiment.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2010; 107(31):13878-82. · 9.68 Impact Factor