Neural Bases of the Interactions between Spatial Attention and Conscious Perception

Ana B. Chica, Pedro M. Paz-Alonso, Antoni Valero-Cabré, Paolo Bartolomeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Citations (Scopus)


Recent behavioral observations suggest that some forms of attentional orienting have the ability to modulate access to perceptual consciousness. However, the neural structures subserving such processes remain uncertain. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging during a visual discrimination task with near-threshold targets preceded by peripheral cues to identify the neural bases of the interactions between spatial attention and conscious visual perception. During the cue-target period critical for spatial orienting, regions within a frontoparietal network, including nodes of the dorsal attentional system, were more strongly engaged for consciously perceived targets than for nonperceived targets at attended locations. Moreover, activation increased for "unseen" targets in more ventral frontoparietal regions, known to be part of a system involved in attentional reorienting. Functional connectivity analyses revealed tighter coupling between frontoparietal nodes for valid cues leading to "seen" reports and for invalid cues leading to unseen reports. We conclude that spatial orienting to peripheral stimuli, subserved by frontoparietal attentional networks, plays a major role in determining the content of our conscious experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalCerebral Cortex
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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