Modulation of Human Visual Cortex by Crossmodal Spatial Attention

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Science  18 Aug 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5482, pp. 1206-1208
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5482.1206

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A sudden touch on one hand can improve vision near that hand, revealing crossmodal links in spatial attention. It is often assumed that such links involve only multimodal neural structures, but unimodal brain areas may also be affected. We tested the effect of simultaneous visuo-tactile stimulation on the activity of the human visual cortex. Tactile stimulation enhanced activity in the visual cortex, but only when it was on the same side as a visual target. Analysis of effective connectivity between brain areas suggests that touch influences unimodal visual cortex via back-projections from multimodal parietal areas. This provides a neural explanation for crossmodal links in spatial attention.

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