Oscillatory dynamics in the dorsal and ventral attention networks during the reorienting of attention

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The ability to reorient attention within the visual field is central to daily functioning, and numerous fMRI studies have shown that the dorsal and ventral attention networks (DAN, VAN) are critical to such processes. However, despite the instantaneous nature of attentional shifts, the dynamics of oscillatory activity serving attentional reorientation remain poorly characterized. In this study, we utilized magnetoencephalography (MEG) and a Posner task to probe the dynamics of attentional reorienting in 29 healthy adults. MEG data were transformed into the time-frequency domain and significant oscillatory responses were imaged using a beamformer. Voxel time series were then extracted from peak voxels in the functional beamformer images. These time series were used to quantify the dynamics of attentional reorienting, and to compute dynamic functional connectivity. Our results indicated strong increases in theta and decreases in alpha and beta activity across many nodes in the DAN and VAN. Interestingly, theta responses were generally stronger during trials that required attentional reorienting relative to those that did not, while alpha and beta oscillations were more dynamic, with many regions exhibiting significantly stronger responses during non-reorienting trials initially, and the opposite pattern during later processing. Finally, stronger functional connectivity was found following target presentation (575-700 ms) between bilateral superior parietal lobules during attentional reorienting. In sum, these data show that visual attention is served by multiple cortical regions within the DAN and VAN, and that attentional reorienting processes are often associated with spectrally-specific oscillations that have largely distinct spatiotemporal dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2177-2190
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Posner cueing task
  • dorsal attention network
  • functional connectivity
  • magnetoencephalography
  • oscillation
  • ventral attention network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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