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Cortical fMRI activation produced by attentive tracking of moving targets.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate cortical regions involved in attentive tracking in 21 Ss. Cortical flattening techniques facilitated within-subject comparisons of activation produced by attentive tracking, visual motion, discrete attention shifts, and eye movements. In the main task, 4 Ss viewed a display of 9 green "bouncing balls" and used attention to mentally track a subset of them while fixating. At the start of each attentive-tracking condition, several target balls turned red for 2 sec and then reverted to green. Ss then used attention to keep track of the previously indicated targets. Attention-tracking conditions alternated with passive viewing of the same display when no targets had been indicated. For 7 Ss, functional activation was superimposed on each individual's cortically unfolded surface. Comparisons between attentive tracking and passive viewing revealed bilateral activation in parietal cortex, frontal cortex, and the middle temportal (MT) complex. Results suggest that attentive tracking is mediated by a network of areas that includes parietal and frontal regions responsible for attention shifts and eye movements and the MT complex, thought to be responsible for motion perception. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)



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