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Modulation of long-range neural synchrony reflects temporal limitations of visual attention in humans.

Authors
  • Gross, Joachim
  • Schmitz, Frank
  • Schnitzler, Irmtraud
  • Kessler, Klaus
  • Shapiro, Kimron
  • Hommel, Bernhard
  • Schnitzler, Alfons
Type
Published Article
Journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Publication Date
Aug 31, 2004
Volume
101
Issue
35
Pages
13050–13055
Identifiers
PMID: 15328408
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Because of attentional limitations, the human visual system can process for awareness and response only a fraction of the input received. Lesion and functional imaging studies have identified frontal, temporal, and parietal areas as playing a major role in the attentional control of visual processing, but very little is known about how these areas interact to form a dynamic attentional network. We hypothesized that the network communicates by means of neural phase synchronization, and we used magnetoencephalography to study transient long-range interarea phase coupling in a well studied attentionally taxing dual-target task (attentional blink). Our results reveal that communication within the fronto-parieto-temporal attentional network proceeds via transient long-range phase synchronization in the beta band. Changes in synchronization reflect changes in the attentional demands of the task and are directly related to behavioral performance. Thus, we show how attentional limitations arise from the way in which the subsystems of the attentional network interact.

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