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Alpha-band activity tracks the zoom lens of attention

Alpha-band activity tracks the zoom lens of attention
Alpha-band activity tracks the zoom lens of attention
Voluntary control over spatial attention has been likened to the operation of a zoom lens, such that processing quality declines as the size of the attended region increases, with a gradient of performance that peaks at the center of the selected area. Although concurrent changes in activity in visual regions suggest that zoom lens adjustments influence perceptual stages of processing, extant work has not distinguished between changes in the spatial selectivity of attention-driven neural activity and baseline shift of activity that can increase mean levels of activity without changes in selectivity. Here, we distinguished between these alternatives by measuring EEG activity in humans to track preparatory changes in alpha activity that indexed the precise topography of attention across the possible target positions. We observed increased spatial selectivity in alpha activity when observers voluntarily directed attention toward a narrower region of space, a pattern that was mirrored in target discrimination accuracy. Thus, alpha activity tracks both the centroid and spatial extent of covert spatial attention before the onset of the target display, lending support to the hypothesis that narrowing the zoom lens of attention shapes the initial encoding of sensory information.
0898-929X
272-282
Feldmann-Wustefeld, Tobias
ad65a041-3b03-4374-8483-2eb878a6c909
Awh, Edward
6b01bfba-ab16-4083-8456-a7050a3311f8
Feldmann-Wustefeld, Tobias
ad65a041-3b03-4374-8483-2eb878a6c909
Awh, Edward
6b01bfba-ab16-4083-8456-a7050a3311f8

Feldmann-Wustefeld, Tobias and Awh, Edward (2020) Alpha-band activity tracks the zoom lens of attention. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 272-282. (doi:10.1162/jocn_a_01484).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Voluntary control over spatial attention has been likened to the operation of a zoom lens, such that processing quality declines as the size of the attended region increases, with a gradient of performance that peaks at the center of the selected area. Although concurrent changes in activity in visual regions suggest that zoom lens adjustments influence perceptual stages of processing, extant work has not distinguished between changes in the spatial selectivity of attention-driven neural activity and baseline shift of activity that can increase mean levels of activity without changes in selectivity. Here, we distinguished between these alternatives by measuring EEG activity in humans to track preparatory changes in alpha activity that indexed the precise topography of attention across the possible target positions. We observed increased spatial selectivity in alpha activity when observers voluntarily directed attention toward a narrower region of space, a pattern that was mirrored in target discrimination accuracy. Thus, alpha activity tracks both the centroid and spatial extent of covert spatial attention before the onset of the target display, lending support to the hypothesis that narrowing the zoom lens of attention shapes the initial encoding of sensory information.

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Accepted manuscript - This is the author’s final version, and has been accepted for publication in Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 27 September 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 30 December 2019
Published date: February 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 434637
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/434637
ISSN: 0898-929X
PURE UUID: 9399d5fa-a781-404c-8f47-deef4d8067a4

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Date deposited: 04 Oct 2019 16:30
Last modified: 14 May 2020 16:37

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