Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Spatial attention has been studied for over a half a century. Early behavioural work showed that attending to a location improves performance on a variety of tasks. Since then substantial progress has been made on understanding the neural mechanisms underlying these effects. This chapter reviews the neuroimaging literature, as well as related behavioural and single-cell physiology studies, on visual spatial attention. In particular, the chapter frames much of the work in the context of the biased competition theory of attention, which argues that a primary mechanism of attention is to bias competition among stimuli in the visual cortex in favour of an attended stimulus that, as a result, receives enhanced processing to guide behaviour. Accordingly, the authors have organized this chapter into two related sections. The first summarizes the effects of attention in the visual cortex and thalamus, the so-called ‘site’ of attention. The second explores the relationship between attention and fronto-parietal mechanisms which are thought to be the ‘source’ of the biasing signals exerted on the visual cortex.

Keywords: spatial attention, biased competition, attentional response modulation, visual cortex, attentional control, fronto-parietal cortex, attention network

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.