How do endogenous (voluntary) and exogenous (involuntary) attention modulate activity in visual cortex? Using ROI-based fMRI analysis, we measured fMRI activity for valid and invalid trials (target at cued/un-cued location, respectively), pre- or post-cueing endogenous or exogenous attention, while participants performed the same orientation discrimination task. We found stronger modulation in contralateral than ipsilateral visual regions, and higher activity in valid- than invalid-trials. For endogenous attention, modulation of stimulus-evoked activity due to a pre-cue increased along the visual hierarchy, but was constant due to a post-cue. For exogenous attention, modulation of stimulus-evoked activity due to a pre-cue was constant along the visual hierarchy, but was not modulated due to a post-cue. These findings reveal that endogenous and exogenous attention distinctly modulate activity in visuo-occipital areas during orienting and reorienting; endogenous attention facilitates both the encoding and the readout of visual information whereas exogenous attention only facilitates the encoding of information.
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