Specific visual subregions of TPJ mediate reorienting of spatial attention

Laura Dugué, Elisha P. Merriam, David J. Heeger, Marisa Carrasco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) has been associated with various cognitive and social functions, and is critical for attentional reorienting. Attention affects early visual processing. Neuroimaging studies dealing with such processes have thus far concentrated on striate and extrastriate areas. Here, we investigated whether attention orienting or reorienting modulate activity in visually driven TPJ subregions. For each observer we identified 3 visually responsive subregions within TPJ: 2 bilateral (vTPJant and vTPJpost) and 1 right lateralized (vTPJcent). Cortical activity in these subregions was measured using fMRI while observers performed a 2-alternative forced-choice orientation discrimination task. Covert spatial endogenous (voluntary) or exogenous (involuntary) attention was manipulated using either a central or a peripheral cue with task, stimuli and observers constant. Both endogenous and exogenous attention increased activity for invalidly cued trials in right vTPJpost; only endogenous attention increased activity for invalidly cued trials in left vTPJpost and in right vTPJcent; and neither type of attention modulated either right or left vTPJant. These results demonstrate that vTPJpost and vTPJcent mediate the reorientation of covert attention to task relevant stimuli, thus playing a critical role in visual attention. These findings reveal a differential reorienting cortical response after observers' attention has been oriented to a given location voluntarily or involuntarily.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2375-2390
Number of pages16
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Covert attention
  • Endogenous attention
  • Exogenous attention
  • FMRI
  • Spatial attention
  • TPJ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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