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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

January 1, 2003, Vol. 15, No. 1, Pages 10-19
(doi: 10.1162/089892903321107783)
© 2003 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Neural Substrates of Perceptual Enhancement by Cross-Modal Spatial Attention
Article PDF (4.11 MB)

Orienting attention involuntarily to the location of a sudden sound improves perception of subsequent visual stimuli that appear nearby. The neural substrates of this cross-modal attention effect were investigated by recording event-related potentials to the visual stimuli using a dense electrode array and localizing their brain sources through inverse dipole modeling. A spatially nonpredictive auditory precue modulated visual-evoked neural activity first in the superior temporal cortex at 120–140 msec and then in the ventral occipital cortex of the fusiform gyrus 15–25 msec later. This spatio-temporal sequence of brain activity suggests that enhanced visual perception produced by the cross-modal orienting of spatial attention results from neural feedback from the multimodal superior temporal cortex to the visual cortex of the ventral processing stream.