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Unmasking the contribution of low-level features to the guidance of attention.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2012
Author Ossandón José P, Onat Selim, Cazzoli Dario, Nyffeler Thomas, Müri Rene, König Peter,
Project Motion and spatial neglect
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Neuropsychologia
Volume (Issue) 50(14)
Page(s) 3478 - 87
Title of proceedings Neuropsychologia
DOI 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.09.043


The role of low-level stimulus-driven control in the guidance of overt visual attention has been difficult to establish because low- and high-level visual content are spatially correlated within natural visual stimuli. Here we show that impairment of parietal cortical areas, either permanently by a lesion or reversibly by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), leads to fixation of locations with higher values of low-level features as compared to control subjects or in a no-rTMS condition. Moreover, this unmasking of stimulus-driven control crucially depends on the intrahemispheric balance between top-down and bottom-up cortical areas. This result suggests that although in normal behavior high-level features might exert a strong influence, low-level features do contribute to guide visual selection during the exploration of complex natural stimuli.