Sensory-biased attention networks in human lateral frontal cortex revealed by intrinsic functional connectivity

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Human frontal cortex is commonly described as being insensitive to sensory modality, however several recent studies cast doubt on this view. Our laboratory previously reported two visual-biased attention regions interleaved with two auditory-biased attention regions, bilaterally, within lateral frontal cortex. These regions selectively formed functional networks with posterior visual-biased and auditory-biased attention regions. Here, we conducted a series of functional connectivity analyses to validate and expand this analysis to 469 subjects from the Human Connectome Project (HCP). Functional connectivity analyses replicated the original findings and revealed a novel hemispheric connectivity bias. We also subdivided lateral frontal cortex into 21 thin-slice ROIs and observed bilateral patterns of spatially alternating visual-biased and auditory-biased attention network connectivity. Finally, we performed a correlation difference analysis that revealed five additional bilateral lateral frontal regions differentially connected to either the visual-biased or auditory-biased attention networks. These findings leverage the HCP dataset to demonstrate that sensory-biased attention networks may have widespread influence in lateral frontal cortical organization.

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