Orienting of visuo-spatial attention in complex 3D space: Search and detection

Akitoshi Ogawa, Emiliano Macaluso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to detect changes in the environment is necessary for appropriate interactions with the external world. Changes in the background go more unnoticed than foreground changes, possibly because attention prioritizes processing of foreground/near stimuli. Here, we investigated the detectability of foreground and background changes within natural scenes and the influence of stereoscopic depth cues on this. Using a flicker paradigm, we alternated a pair of images that were exactly same or differed for one single element (i.e., a color change of one object in the scene). The participants were asked to find the change that occurred either in a foreground or background object, while viewing the stimuli either with binocular and monocular cues (bmC) or monocular cues only (mC). The behavioral results showed faster and more accurate detections for foreground changes and overall better performance in bmC than mC conditions. The imaging results highlighted the involvement of fronto-parietal attention controlling networks during active search and target detection. These attention networks did not show any differential effect as function of the presence/absence of the binocular cues, or the detection of foreground/background changes. By contrast, the lateral occipital cortex showed greater activation for detections in foreground compared to background, while area V3A showed a main effect of bmC vs. mC, specifically during search. These findings indicate that visual search with binocular cues does not impose any specific requirement on attention-controlling fronto-parietal networks, while the enhanced detection of front/near objects in the bmC condition reflects bottom-up sensory processes in visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2231-2247
Number of pages17
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Change detection
  • FMRI
  • Lateral occipital complex
  • Stereoscopic viewing
  • V3A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anatomy
  • Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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