Functional neuroimaging of attention in the auditory modality

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PREVIOUS functional neuroimaging studies of attention have emphasized the visual modality. We developed an auditory version of the continuous performance test (CPT) that included simple, focused and divided attention conditions. Positron emission tomographic (PET) scans were acquired during CPT performance in normal young adults and then submitted to statistical parametric mapping. Simple attention brought about a large region of activation involving the anterior cingulate gyrus and the right anterior/mesial frontal lobe. Focused and divided attention CPT conditions were compared but there were few significant differences. The findings are consistent with activation of an anterior attention network during auditory attention, without involvement of posterior attention structures which are more likely to vary in accordance with sensory modality.

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