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Durham University



Publication details for Professor Amanda Ellison

Walsh, V., Ellison, A., Ashbridge, E. & Cowey, A. (1998). The role of the parietal cortex in visual attention - hemispheric asymmetires and the effects of learning: A magnetic stimulation study. Neuropsychologia 37(2): 245-251.

Author(s) from Durham


Our previous studies of the role of the parietal cortex in visual learning and attention showed that the right parietal cortex is required for normal performance on conjunction visual search tasks but that its role depends on whether subjects are naive or trained on the task. Here we extend these findings in two Experiments. Experiment 1 shows that magnetic stimulation of the left parietal cortex also impairs performance (measured as reaction time) on conjunction visual search tasks, but only when the target is present in the right (contralateral) visual field. Stimulation of the same region on a feature detection task speeds up performance significantly when the target is in the left (ipsilateral) visual field. Experiment 2 explores further the role of the right parietal cortex in learning conjunction search tasks. Stimulation of the right parietal cortex in subjects who had already trained on some visual search tasks did not impair performance on a novel motion/form conjunction task even though the search was clearly serial. Stimulation of area V5, however, severely disrupted performance on the same task. These data indicate that the role of the parietal cortex may change much earlier in the course of training than initially thought.

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