Oscillations during observations: Dynamic oscillatory networks serving visuospatial attention

Alex I. Wiesman, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Amy L. Proskovec, Timothy J. McDermott, Tony W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The dynamic allocation of neural resources to discrete features within a visual scene enables us to react quickly and accurately to salient environmental circumstances. A network of bilateral cortical regions is known to subserve such visuospatial attention functions; however the oscillatory and functional connectivity dynamics of information coding within this network are not fully understood. Particularly, the coding of information within prototypical attention-network hubs and the subsecond functional connections formed between these hubs have not been adequately characterized. Herein, we use the precise temporal resolution of magnetoencephalography (MEG) to define spectrally specific functional nodes and connections that underlie the deployment of attention in visual space. Twenty-three healthy young adults completed a visuospatial discrimination task designed to elicit multispectral activity in visual cortex during MEG, and the resulting data were preprocessed and reconstructed in the time–frequency domain. Oscillatory responses were projected to the cortical surface using a beamformer, and time series were extracted from peak voxels to examine their temporal evolution. Dynamic functional connectivity was then computed between nodes within each frequency band of interest. We find that visual attention network nodes are defined functionally by oscillatory frequency, that the allocation of attention to the visual space dynamically modulates functional connectivity between these regions on a millisecond timescale, and that these modulations significantly correlate with performance on a spatial discrimination task. We conclude that functional hubs underlying visuospatial attention are segregated not only anatomically but also by oscillatory frequency, and importantly that these oscillatory signatures promote dynamic communication between these hubs. Hum Brain Mapp 38:5128–5140, 2017.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5128-5140
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • MEG
  • cortical oscillations
  • phase coherence
  • visual attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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