Differential contribution of right and left parietal cortex to the control of spatial attention: a simultaneous EEG-rTMS study.

Research paper by Paolo P Capotosto, Claudio C Babiloni, Gian Luca GL Romani, Maurizio M Corbetta

Indexed on: 15 Jun '11Published on: 15 Jun '11Published in: Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991)


We have recently shown that interference with repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) of right posterior intraparietal sulcus (IPS) cortex during the allocation of spatial attention leads to abnormal desynchronization of anticipatory (pretarget) electroencephalographic alpha rhythms (8-12 Hz) in occipital-parietal cortex and the detection of subsequently presented visual targets (Capotosto et al. 2009). Since lesion data suggest that lesions of the right frontoparietal cortices produce more severe and long-lasting deficits of visual spatial attention than lesions of the left hemisphere, here, we used the mentioned rTMS-electroencephalographic procedure to test if the control of anticipatory alpha rhythms by IPS is asymmetrically organized in the 2 hemispheres. Results showed that interference with either left or right IPS during covert spatial attention equally disrupted the normally lateralized anticipatory modulation of occipital visual cortex, with stronger alpha desynchronization contralaterally to the attended visual field. In contrast, only interference with right IPS induced a paradoxical pretarget synchronization of alpha rhythms and bilateral deficits of target identification. These results suggest that the control of spatial topography of anticipatory alpha rhythms in occipital-parietal cortex is shared between left and right IPS cortex, but that right IPS uniquely contributes to a bilateral prestimulus activation of occipital visual cortex.