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Direct neurophysiological evidence for spatial suppression surrounding the focus of attention in vision

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Abstract
The spatial focus of attention has traditionally been envisioned as a simple spatial gradient of enhanced activity that falls off monotonically with increasing distance. Here, we show with high-density magnetoencephalographic recordings in human observers that the focus of attention is not a simple monotonic gradient but instead contains an excitatory peak surrounded by a narrow inhibitory region. To demonstrate this center-surround profile, we asked subjects to focus attention onto a color pop-out target and then presented probe stimuli at various distances from the target. We observed that the electromagnetic response to the probe was enhanced when the probe was presented at the location of the target, but the probe response was suppressed in a narrow zone surrounding the target and then recovered at more distant locations. Withdrawing attention from the pop-out target by engaging observers in a demanding foveal task eliminated this pattern, confirming a truly attention-cl riven effect. These results indicate that neural enhancement and suppression coexist in a spatially structured manner that is optimal to attenuate the most deleterious noise during visual object identification.
Keywords
EXTRASTRIATE CORTEX, VISUAL SELECTIVE ATTENTION, visual, magnetoencephalography, attention, RESPONSES, MACAQUE, SEARCH, BRAIN ACTIVITY, NEURAL MECHANISMS, INHIBITORY SURROUNDS, DISTRACTOR SUPPRESSION, ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE

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Chicago
Hopf, JM, Nico Böhler, SJ Luck, JK Tsotsos, HJ Heinze, and MA Schoenfeld. 2006. “Direct Neurophysiological Evidence for Spatial Suppression Surrounding the Focus of Attention in Vision.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 103 (4): 1053–1058.
APA
Hopf, J., Böhler, N., Luck, S., Tsotsos, J., Heinze, H., & Schoenfeld, M. (2006). Direct neurophysiological evidence for spatial suppression surrounding the focus of attention in vision. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 103(4), 1053–1058.
Vancouver
1.
Hopf J, Böhler N, Luck S, Tsotsos J, Heinze H, Schoenfeld M. Direct neurophysiological evidence for spatial suppression surrounding the focus of attention in vision. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. 2006;103(4):1053–8.
MLA
Hopf, JM, Nico Böhler, SJ Luck, et al. “Direct Neurophysiological Evidence for Spatial Suppression Surrounding the Focus of Attention in Vision.” PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 103.4 (2006): 1053–1058. Print.
@article{1895580,
  abstract     = {The spatial focus of attention has traditionally been envisioned as a simple spatial gradient of enhanced activity that falls off monotonically with increasing distance. Here, we show with high-density magnetoencephalographic recordings in human observers that the focus of attention is not a simple monotonic gradient but instead contains an excitatory peak surrounded by a narrow inhibitory region. To demonstrate this center-surround profile, we asked subjects to focus attention onto a color pop-out target and then presented probe stimuli at various distances from the target. We observed that the electromagnetic response to the probe was enhanced when the probe was presented at the location of the target, but the probe response was suppressed in a narrow zone surrounding the target and then recovered at more distant locations. Withdrawing attention from the pop-out target by engaging observers in a demanding foveal task eliminated this pattern, confirming a truly attention-cl riven effect. These results indicate that neural enhancement and suppression coexist in a spatially structured manner that is optimal to attenuate the most deleterious noise during visual object identification.},
  author       = {Hopf, JM and Böhler, Nico and Luck, SJ and Tsotsos, JK and Heinze, HJ and Schoenfeld, MA},
  issn         = {0027-8424},
  journal      = {PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA},
  keywords     = {EXTRASTRIATE CORTEX,VISUAL SELECTIVE ATTENTION,visual,magnetoencephalography,attention,RESPONSES,MACAQUE,SEARCH,BRAIN ACTIVITY,NEURAL MECHANISMS,INHIBITORY SURROUNDS,DISTRACTOR SUPPRESSION,ELECTROPHYSIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {1053--1058},
  title        = {Direct neurophysiological evidence for spatial suppression surrounding the focus of attention in vision},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0507746103},
  volume       = {103},
  year         = {2006},
}

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