Role of the dorsal attention network in distracter suppression based on features

Armien Lanssens, Gloria Pizzamiglio, Dante Mantini, Celine R. Gillebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Selective attention allows us to prioritize the processing of relevant information and filter out irrelevant information. Human functional neuroimaging and lesion-based studies have highlighted the fronto-parietal dorsal attention network (DAN) as an important network in this process. In this study, we investigated the role of the DAN in distracter suppression by dynamically modifying the priority of visual information (target > high priority distracter > low priority distracter) based on features only. To this end, we collected fMRI data in 24 healthy subjects, who performed a feature-based variant of the sustained attention to response task. Participants had to select one or attend two stream(s) of overlapping digits that differed in color and respond to each digit in the task-relevant stream(s) except to a single non-target digit. Results showed higher DAN activity when a target was co-presented with a high versus low priority distracter. Furthermore, higher DAN activity was observed when selectively attending one (target + high/low priority distracter) versus simultaneously attending two (target + target) stream(s) of digits. In conclusion, our study highlights the contribution of the DAN in the feature-based suppression of task-irrelevant information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-46
Number of pages10
JournalCognitive Neuroscience
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2 2020


  • attentional priority
  • dorsal attention network
  • feature-based attention
  • fMRI
  • frontal eye fields
  • intraparietal sulcus
  • superior parietal lobe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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