Attentional orienting across the sensory modalities

D. Talsma, A Kok, H.A. Slagter, G. Cipriani

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This event-related potential study investigated (i) to what extent incongruence between attention-directing cue and cued target modality affects attentional control processes that bias the system in advance to favor a particular stimulus modality and (ii) to what extent top-down attentional control mechanisms are generalized for the type of information that is to be attended. To this end, both visual and auditory word cues were used to instruct participants to direct attention to a specific visual (color) or auditory (pitch) stimulus feature of a forthcoming multisensory target stimulus. Effects of cue congruency were observed within 200 ms post-cue over frontal scalp regions and related to processes involved in shifting attention from the cue modality to the modality of the task-relevant target feature. Both directing visual attention and directing auditory attention were associated with dorsal posterior positivity, followed by sustained fronto-central negativity. However, this fronto-central negativity appeared to have an earlier onset and was more pronounced when the visual modality was cued. Together the present results suggest that the mechanisms involved in deploying attention are to some extent determined by the modality (visual, auditory) in which attention operates, and in addition, that some of these mechanisms can also be affected by cue congruency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Cognition
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jun 2007
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008


  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention/physiology
  • Auditory Perception/physiology
  • Cerebral Cortex/physiology
  • Contingent Negative Variation/physiology
  • Evoked Potentials/physiology
  • Female
  • Field Dependence-Independence
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Orientation/physiology
  • Reaction Time/physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Visual Perception/physiology


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