Frontoparietal control of spatial attention and motor intention in human EEG

Peter Praamstra, Luc Boutsen, Glyn W. Humphreys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Relations between spatial attention and motor intention were investigated by means of an EEG potential elicited by shifting attention to a location in space as well as by the selection of a hand for responding. High-density recordings traced this potential to a common frontoparietal network activated by attentional orienting and by response selection. Within this network, parietal and frontal cortex were activated sequentially, followed by an anterior-to-posterior migration of activity culminating in the lateral occipital cortex. Based on temporal and polarity information provided by EEG, we hypothesize that the frontoparietal activation, evoked by directional information, updates a task-defined preparatory state by deselecting or inhibiting the behavioral option competing with the cued response side or the cued direction of attention. These results from human EEG demonstrate a direct EEG manifestation of the frontoparietal attention network previously identified in functional imaging. EEG reveals the time course of activation within this network and elucidates the generation and function of associated directing-attention EEG potentials. The results emphasize transient activation and a decision-related function of the frontoparietal attention network, contrasting with the sustained preparatory activation that is commonly inferred from neuroimaging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)764-774
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2005


  • spatial attention
  • motor intention
  • EEG potential elicited
  • cortex
  • neuroimaging


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