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ATTENTION was directed to the left or to the right of the fixation point by the lateral presentation of a target on which the subject had to perform an attention demanding task. A (task-irrelevant) grating displayed in the left visual field was the visual evoked potential (VEP) stimulus. Gratings modulated either in luminance or colour contrast at various temporal frequencies were used in order to maximise the activation of magno- or parvocellular pathways. VEPs recorded in attended and unattended conditions were compared. For luminance stimuli, both latency and amplitude of VEPs were modified by attention. For chromatic stimuli, attention affected the amplitude but not the latency of VEPs. Spatial attention uses different mechanisms when magno- or parvocellular systems are involved.