Attention to memory and the environment: Functional specialization and dynamic competition in human posterior parietal cortex

Carlo Sestieri, Gordon L. Shulman, Maurizio Corbetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Scopus citations

Abstract

Posterior parietal cortex has been traditionally associated with perceptual attention and sensory-motor processing, but recent studies also indicate a potential role in episodic memory retrieval. Here, we developed a new paradigm to isolate top-down attention-related activity directed to either memory or perceptual information. We demonstrated a robust topographic separation in human posterior parietal cortex associated with searching for task-relevant information in episodic memory or in the environment. Control analyses confirmed that this difference was not dependent on differences in sensory stimulation or eye movements across tasks. Notably, we observed in memory- and perception-related regions a mechanism of reciprocal dynamic competition that was related to behavioral performance. These results provide the first evidence for a double dissociation between parietal networks involved in top-down attention to memory and the environment and support the idea of neural competition between perception and memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8445-8456
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume30
Issue number25
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 23 2010

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