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Chinese research group reveals distinct mechanism for attention in human early visual cortex

Updated: 2020-09-08

A research group at the State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science in the Institute of Biophysics, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, recently revealed a distinct mechanism of attention in humans.

Their findings were published in a paper in the journal Progress in Neurobiology on Aug 17.

Led by Zhang Peng, the group's findings were described in a paper entitled "Layer-dependent multiplicative effects of spatial attention on contrast responses in human early visual cortex".

The group utilized submillimeter-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) at 7 Tesla. Their investigation was into the effects of top-down spatial attention on the contrast responses, across different cortical depths in the human early visual cortex.

All the findings in the group's experiment supported the conclusion that top-down spatial attention mainly operates through feedback connections from the higher order cortical areas.

The researchers believe a distinct mechanism of attention may also be associated with feedforward input through the subcortical pathway.