Effects of attention to auditory motion on cortical activations during smooth pursuit eye tracking

Baumann, Oliver and Greenlee, Mark W. (2009) Effects of attention to auditory motion on cortical activations during smooth pursuit eye tracking. PLoS One, 4 9: Article number e7110. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007110

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Author Baumann, Oliver
Greenlee, Mark W.
Title Effects of attention to auditory motion on cortical activations during smooth pursuit eye tracking
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2009-09-22
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0007110
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 4
Issue 9
Start page Article number e7110
Total pages 6
Editor Christopher Surridge
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject 170205 Neurocognitive Patterns and Neural Networks
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
920111 Nervous System and Disorders
Formatted abstract
In contrast to traditional views that consider smooth pursuit as a relatively automatic process, evidence has been reported for the importance of attention for accurate pursuit performance. However, the exact role that attention might play in the maintenance of pursuit remains unclear.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We analysed the neuronal activity associated with healthy subjects executing smooth pursuit eye movements (SPEM) during concurrent attentive tracking of a moving sound source, which was either in-phase or in antiphase to the executed eye movements. Assuming that attentional resources must be allocated to the moving sound source, the simultaneous execution of SPEM and auditory tracking in diverging directions should result in increased load on common attentional resources. By using an auditory stimulus as a distractor rather then a visual stimulus we guaranteed that cortical activity cannot be caused by conflicts between two simultaneous visual motion stimuli. Our results revealed that the smooth pursuit task with divided attention led to significantly higher activations bilaterally in the posterior parietal cortex and lateral and medial frontal cortex, presumably containing the parietal, frontal and supplementary eye fields respectively.

The additional cortical activation in these areas is apparently due to the process of dividing attention between the execution of SPEM and the covert tracking of the auditory target. On the other hand, even though attention had to be divided the attentional resources did not seem to be exhausted, since the identification of the direction of the auditory target and the quality of SPEM were unaffected by the congruence between visual and auditory motion stimuli. Finally, we found that this form of task-related attention modulated not only the cortical pursuit network in general but also affected modality specific and supramodal attention regions.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 4 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 5 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 14 Oct 2009, 09:25:08 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute