An fMRI Study of the Neural Systems Involved in Visually Cued Auditory Top-Down Spatial and Temporal Attention

Chunlin Li, Kewei Chen, Hongbin Han, Dehua Chui, Jinglong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Top-down attention to spatial and temporal cues has been thoroughly studied in the visual domain. However, because the neural systems that are important for auditory top-down temporal attention (i.e., attention based on time interval cues) remain undefined, the differences in brain activity between directed attention to auditory spatial location (compared with time intervals) are unclear. Using fMRI (magnetic resonance imaging), we measured the activations caused by cue-target paradigms by inducing the visual cueing of attention to an auditory target within a spatial or temporal domain. Imaging results showed that the dorsal frontoparietal network (dFPN), which consists of the bilateral intraparietal sulcus and the frontal eye field, responded to spatial orienting of attention, but activity was absent in the bilateral frontal eye field (FEF) during temporal orienting of attention. Furthermore, the fMRI results indicated that activity in the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) was significantly stronger during spatial orienting of attention than during temporal orienting of attention, while the DLPFC showed no significant differences between the two processes. We conclude that the bilateral dFPN and the right VLPFC contribute to auditory spatial orienting of attention. Furthermore, specific activations related to temporal cognition were confirmed within the superior occipital gyrus, tegmentum, motor area, thalamus and putamen.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere49948
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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