Right hemisphere dominance during spatial selective attention and target detection occurs outside the dorsal frontoparietal network

Gordon L. Shulman, Daniel L.W. Pope, Serguei V. Astafiev, Mark P. McAvoy, Abraham Z. Snyder, Maurizio Corbetta

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381 Scopus citations


Spatial selective attention is widely considered to be right hemisphere dominant. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging studies, however, have reported bilateral blood-oxygenation-level-dependent responses in dorsal frontoparietal regions during anticipatory shifts of attention to a location (Kastner et al., 1999; Corbetta et al., 2000; Hopfinger et al., 2000). Right-lateralized activity has mainly been reported in ventral frontoparietal regions for shifts of attention to an unattended target stimulus (Arrington et al., 2000; Corbetta et al., 2000). However, clear conclusions cannot be drawn from these studies because hemispheric asymmetries were not assessed using direct voxelwise comparisons of activity in left and right hemispheres. Here, we used this technique to measure hemispheric asymmetries during shifts of spatial attention evoked by a peripheral cue stimulus and during target detection at the cued location. Stimulus-driven shifts of spatial attention in both visual fields evoked right-hemisphere dominant activity in temporoparietal junction (TPJ). Target detection at the attended location produced a more widespread right hemisphere dominance in frontal, parietal, and temporal cortex, including the TPJ region asymmetrically activated during shifts of spatial attention. However, hemispheric asymmetries were not observed during either shifts of attention or target detection in the dorsal frontoparietal regions (anterior precuneus, medial intraparietal sulcus, frontal eye fields) that showed the most robust activations for shifts of attention. Therefore, right hemisphere dominance during stimulus-driven shifts of spatial attention and target detection reflects asymmetries in cortical regions that are largely distinct from the dorsal frontoparietal network involved in the control of selective attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3640-3651
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 10 2010


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