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Spatial attention arises from the integrative activity of distributed brain networks. Human brain mapping over the past three decades has allowed us to define a number of key anatomical structures and functional networks involved in spatial attention. Schematically, a frontoparietal network is involved in attentional control and is commonly activated across a wide variety of paradigms. This control system interacts with upstream extrastriate retinotopically areas. Enhancement and suppression of activity in these upstream areas determine the specificity of the content that is selected: spatial location, feature, or object. Other key players are the temporoparietal junction involved in the detection of target singletons that stand out from the environment and the superior parietal lobule, which is involved in spatial and nonspatial attentional shifts.

Original publication





Book title

Brain Mapping: An Encyclopedic Reference


Academic Press: Elsevier

Publication Date





529 - 535


Attention, Attentional control, Biased competition, Bottom-up, Exogenous orienting, fMRI, Frontal eye fields, Intraparietal sulcus, Lateral intraparietal area (LIP), Priority map, Spatial shifting, Superior parietal lobule, Top-down