Royal Society Publishing

Sensory gain control (amplification) as a mechanism of selective attention: electrophysiological and neuroimaging evidence

Steven A. Hillyard, Edward K. Vogel, Steven J. Luck


Both physiological and behavioral studies have suggested that stimulus–driven neural activity in the sensory pathways can be modulated in amplitude during selective attention. Recordings of event–related brain potentials indicate that such sensory gain control or amplification processes play an important role in visual–spatial attention. Combined event–related brain potential and neuroimaging experiments provide strong evidence that attentional gain control operates at an early stage of visual processing in extrastriate cortical areas. These data support early selection theories of attention and provide a basis for distinguishing between separate mechanisms of attentional suppression (of unattended inputs) and attentional facilitation (of attended inputs).

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