Frontoparietal cortex controls spatial attention through modulation of anticipatory alpha rhythms

Paolo Capotosto, Claudio Babiloni, Gian Luca Romani, Maurizio Corbetta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A dorsal frontoparietal network, including regions in intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and frontal eye field (FEF), has been hypothesized to control the allocation of spatial attention to environmental stimuli. One putative mechanism of control is the desynchronization of electroencephalography (EEG) alpha rhythms (∼8 -12 Hz) in visual cortex in anticipation of a visual target. We show that brief interference by repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) with preparatory activity in right IPS or right FEF while subjects attend to a spatial location impairs identification of target visual stimuli ∼2 s later. This behavioral effect is associated with the disruption of anticipatory (prestimulus) alpha desynchronization and its spatially selective topography in parieto-occipital cortex. Finally, the disruption of anticipatory alpha rhythms in occipital cortex after right IPS- or right FEF-rTMS correlates with deficits of visual identification. These results support the causal role of the dorsal frontoparietal network in the control of visuospatial attention, and suggest that this is partly exerted through the synchronization of occipital visual neurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5863-5872
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - May 6 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Frontoparietal cortex controls spatial attention through modulation of anticipatory alpha rhythms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this