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Premotor theory of attention

By Rizzolatti G. and Craighero L.

Abstract

Spatial attention is the capacity to improve the processing of sensory information coming from a specific part of the space surrounding the observer. Classically, spatial attention was thought of as a dedicated supramodal control mechanism, anatomically distinct from the circuits underlying sensorimotor processing (see Posner and Dehaene, 1994). In the late eighties Rizzolatti et al. (1987) challenged this view. On the basis of some behavioral experiments (see below) they argued that there is no need to postulate two control mechanisms, one for action and one for attention. According to them spatial attention does not result from a dedicated control mechanism, but derives from a weaker activation of the same frontal-parietal circuits that, in other conditions, determine motor behavior toward specific spatial locations. This theory, known as the “premotor theory of attention”, has received in these last years a tremendous support from electrophysiological and brain imaging studies and has been extended from spatial attention to attention directed to objects (Rizzolatti and Craighero, 1998)

Publisher: Eugene M. Izhikevich
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:iris.unife.it:11392/1406665
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