Show Reference: "Enhanced Performance with Brain Stimulation: Attentional Shift or Visual Cue?"

Enhanced Performance with Brain Stimulation: Attentional Shift or Visual Cue? The Journal of Neuroscience, Vol. 26, No. 44. (01 November 2006), pp. 11347-11358, doi:10.1523/jneurosci.2376-06.2006 by James Cavanaugh, Bryan D. Alvarez, Robert H. Wurtz
    abstract = {The premotor theory of visual spatial attention proposes that the same brain activity that prepares for saccades to one part of the visual field also facilitates visual processing at that same region of the visual field. Strong support comes from improvements in performance by electrical stimulation of presaccadic areas, including the frontal eye field and superior colliculus ({SC}). Interpretations of these stimulation experiments are hampered by the possibility that stimulation might be producing an internal visual flash or phosphene that attracts attention as a real flash would. We tested this phosphene hypothesis in the {SC} by comparing the effect of interchanging real visual stimuli and electrical stimulation. We first presented a veridical visual cue at the time {SC} stimulation improved performance; if a phosphene improved performance at this time, a real cue should do so in the same manner, but it did not. We then changed the time of {SC} visual-motor stimulation to when we ordinarily presented the veridical visual cue, and failed to improve performance. Last, we shifted the site of {SC} stimulation from the visual-motor neurons of the {SC} intermediate layers to the visual neurons of the superficial layers to determine whether stimulating visual neurons produced a larger improvement in performance, but it did not. Our experiments provide evidence that a phosphene is not responsible for the shift of attention that follows {SC} stimulation. This added evidence of a direct shift of attention is consistent with a key role of the {SC} in the premotor theory of attention.},
    address = {Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20982-4435, USA.},
    author = {Cavanaugh, James and Alvarez, Bryan D. and Wurtz, Robert H.},
    day = {01},
    doi = {10.1523/jneurosci.2376-06.2006},
    issn = {1529-2401},
    journal = {The Journal of Neuroscience},
    keywords = {attention, biology, sc},
    month = nov,
    number = {44},
    pages = {11347--11358},
    pmid = {17079663},
    posted-at = {2013-10-25 15:53:04},
    priority = {2},
    publisher = {Society for Neuroscience},
    title = {Enhanced Performance with Brain Stimulation: Attentional Shift or Visual Cue?},
    url = {},
    volume = {26},
    year = {2006}

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There is a theory called the `premotor theory of visual attention' which posits that activity that can ultimately lead to a saccade can also facilitate processing of stimuli in those places the saccade will/would go to.

It has been found that stimulating supposed motor neurons in the SC facilitates visual processing in the part of visual cortex whose receptive field is the same as that of the SC stimulated neurons.

VIsual attention is the facilitation of visual processing of some stimuli over others.