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ERIC Number: EJ921686
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0898-929X
A Candidate for the Attentional Bottleneck: Set-Size Specific Modulation of the Right TPJ during Attentive Enumeration
Vetter, Petra; Butterworth, Brian; Bahrami, Bahador
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, v23 n3 p728-736 Mar 2011
Several recent behavioral studies have shown that the enumeration of a small number of items (a process termed "subitizing") depends on the availability of attentional resources and is not a preattentive process as previously thought. Here we studied the neural correlates of visual enumeration under different attentional loads in a dual-task paradigm using fMRI. Relatively intact subitizing under low attentional load compared to impaired subitizing under high attentional load was associated with an increase in BOLD signal in the right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ). Crucially, attentionally modulated response in the rTPJ was specific to small set sizes (up to 3 items) and did not occur at larger set sizes (5-7 items). This result has two implications: (1) Subitizing involves part of the fronto-parietal network for stimulus-driven attention providing neural evidence against preattentive subitizing. (2) Activity in rTPJ is set-size modulated. Together with similar evidence from studies probing visual short-term memory, this result suggests that rTPJ modulation might reflect the brain's ability to attentively handle small set sizes. Thus, the rTPJ may play an important role for the emergence of a capacity limit in both enumeration and visual short-term memory.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A