Visual Attention and Cortical Circuits


The neurobiology and psychology of attention have much to learn from each other. Neurobiologists recognize that responses in sensory cortex depend on the behavioral relevance of a stimulus, but have few ways to study how perception changes as a result. Psychologists have the conceptual and methodological tools to do just that, but are confounded by the multiple interpretations and theoretical ambiguities. This book attempts to bridge the two fields and to derive a comprehensive theory of attention from both neurobiological and psychological data. It highlights situations where attention can be seen to alter both neural activity and psychophysical performance/phenomenal experience. This "bicultural" approach contributes not only to attention research but to the larger goal of linking neural activity to conscious experience.

The book focuses mainly on the effects of visual attention on the ventral and dorsal streams of visual cortex in humans and monkeys and the associated changes in visual performance. Several larger findings emerge: attention may involve more than one neural system; attention modulates all stages of cortical visual processing; the effect of attention is constrained by the intrinsic connectivity of cortex and the resulting contextual interactions; and the notion of a "saliency map" remains central to thinking about visual attention. The book also considers several approaches to evaluating the same variable through different methods, such as behavioral measurements, functional imaging, and single-unit recording.

Contributors: Narcisse P. Bichot, Erik Blaser, Geoffrey M. Boynton, Jochen Braun, Maurizio Corbetta, Sean M. Culhane, Florin Cutzu, Sophie Deneve, Robert Desimone, John Duncan, Sunil P. Gandhi, Charles D. Gilbert, David J. Heeger, James W. Holsapple, Alexander C. Huk, Minami Ito, Laurent Itti, Christof Koch, Peter E. Latham, Nilli Lavie, D. Kathleen Lee, Zhong-Lin Lu, John H.R. Maunsell, Carrie J. McAdams, Brad C. Motter, Alexandre Pouget, Adam Reeves, John H. Reynolds, Jeffrey D. Schall, Christian Scheier, Shinsuke Shimojo, Gordon L. Shulman, George Sperling, Kirk G. Thompson, John K. Tsotsos, Katsumi Watanabe, Erich Weichselgartner, Gerald Westheimer.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Overview

    Jochen Braun and Christof Koch

  3. 1. Imaging Expectations and Attentional Modulations in the Human Brain

    Maurizio Corbeita and Gordon L. Shulman

  4. 2. Neuronal Correlates of Attention in Human Visual Cortex

    David J. Heeger, Sunil P. Gandhi, Alexander C. Huk and Geoffrey M. Boynton

  5. 3. Capacity Limits in Selective Attention: Behavioral Evidence and Implications for Neural Activity

    Nilli Lavie

  6. 4. Frontal Lobe Function and the Control of Visual Attention

    John Duncan

  7. 5. Attentional Modulation of Contextual Influences

    Minami Ito, Gerald Westheimer and Charles D. Gilbert

  8. 6. Effects of Attention on the Responsiveness and Selectivity of Individual Neurons in Visual Cerebral Cortex

    John H. R. Maunsell and Carrie J. McAdams

  9. 7. Neural Mechanisms of Attentional Selection

    John H. Reynolds and Robert Desimone

  10. 8. From Attention to Action in Frontal Cortex

    Kirk G. Thompson, Narcisse P. Bichot and Jeffrey D. Schall

  11. 9. Separating Attention from Chance in Active Visual Search

    Brad C. Motter and James W. Holsapple

  12. 10. Two Computational Models of Attention

    George Sperling, Adam Reeves, Erik Blaser, Zhong-Lin Lu and Erich Weichselgartner

  13. 11. Perceptual Consequences of Multilevel Selection

    Jochn Braun, Christof Koch, D. Kathleen Lee and Laurent Itti

  14. 12. The Resolution of Ambiguous Motion: Attentional Modulation and Development

    Shinsuke Shimojo, Katsumi Watanabe and Christian Scheier

  15. 13. The Relevance of Fisher Information for Theories of Cortical Computation and Attention

    Alexandre Pouget, Sophie Deneve and Peter E. Latham

  16. 14. From Foundation Principles to a Hierarchical Selection Circuit for Attention

    John K. Tsotsos, Sean M. Culhane and florin Cutzu

  17. Contributors
  18. Index
  19. Color Insert