Cortex. 2017 (in press)

Visuo-spatial orienting during active exploratory behavior: processing of task-related and stimulus-related signals

Macaluso E. and Ogawa A.

Functional imaging studies have associated dorsal and ventral fronto-parietal regions with the control of visuo-spatial attention. Previous studies demonstrated that the activity of both the dorsal and the ventral attention systems can be modulated by many different factors, related both to the stimuli and the task. However, the vast majority of this work utilized stereotyped paradigms with simple and repeated stimuli. This is at odd with any real life situation that instead involve complex combinations of different types of co-occurring signals, thus raising the question of the ecological significance of the previous findings. Here we investigated how the brain responds to task-related and stimulus-related signals using an innovative approach that involved active exploration of a virtual environment. This enabled us to study visuo-spatial orienting in conditions entailing a dynamic and coherent flow of visual signals, to some extent analogous to real life situations. The environment comprised colored/textured spheres and cubes, which allowed us to implement a standard feature-conjunction search task (task-related signals), and included one physically salient object that served to track the processing of stimulus-related signals. The imaging analyses showed that the posterior parietal cortex activated when the participants’ gaze was directed towards the salient-objects. By contrast, the right inferior partial cortex was associated with the processing of the target-objects and of distractors that shared the target-color and shape, consistent with goal-directed template-matching operations. The study highlights the possibility of combining measures of gaze orienting and functional imaging to investigate the processing of different types of signals during active behavior in complex environments.

A list of relevant publications

Nardo, D., Console, P., Reverberi, C., & Macaluso, E. (2016). Competition between Visual Events Modulates the Influence of Salience during Free-Viewing of Naturalistic Videos. Front Hum Neurosci, . PMID: 27445760 [open access]

Fagioli, S., & Macaluso, E. (2016). Neural Correlates of Divided Attention in Natural Scenes. J Cogn Neurosci, . PMID: 27167404

Silvetti, M., Lasaponara, S., Lecce, F., Dragone, A., Macaluso, E., & Doricchi, F. (2015). The Response of the Left Ventral Attentional System to Invalid Targets and its Implication for the Spatial Neglect Syndrome: a Multivariate fMRI Investigation. Cereb Cortex, . PMID: 26405052

Santangelo, V., Di Francesco, S. A., Mastroberardino, S., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Parietal cortex integrates contextual and saliency signals during the encoding of natural scenes in working memory. Hum Brain Mapp, 36(12), 5003-17. PMID: 26333392

Mastroberardino, S., Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Crossmodal semantic congruence can affect visuo-spatial processing and activity of the fronto-parietal attention networks. Front Integr Neurosci, 945. PMID: 26217199 [open access]

Bordier, C., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Time-resolved detection of stimulus/task-related networks, via clustering of transient intersubject synchronization. Hum Brain Mapp, 36(9), 3404-25. PMID: 26095530 [open access]

Kwok, S. C., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Scale invariance of temporal order discrimination using complex, naturalistic events. Cognition, 140111-21. PMID: 25909581 [open access]

Kwok, S. C., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Exogenous features versus prior experiences modulate different subregions of the right IPL during episodic memory retrieval. Sci Rep, 511248. PMID: 26057929 [open access]

Kwok, S. C., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Immediate memory for “when, where and what”: Short-delay retrieval using dynamic naturalistic material. Hum Brain Mapp, 36(7), 2495-513. PMID: 25773646 [open access]

Ogawa, A., & Macaluso, E. (2015). Orienting of visuo-spatial attention in complex 3D space: Search and detection. Hum Brain Mapp, 36(6), 2231-47. PMID: 25691253 [open access]

Dragone, A., Lasaponara, S., Silvetti, M., Macaluso, E., & Doricchi, F. (2015). Selective reorienting response of the left hemisphere to invalid visual targets in the right side of space: relevance for the spatial neglect syndrome. Cortex, 6531-5. PMID: 25618327

Kwok, S. C., Shallice, T., & Macaluso, E. (2014). Set-relevance determines the impact of distractors on episodic memory retrieval. J Cogn Neurosci, 26(9), 2070-86. PMID: 24666132 [open access]

Freeman, E. D., Macaluso, E., Rees, G., & Driver, J. (2014). fMRI correlates of object-based attentional facilitation vs. suppression of irrelevant stimuli, dependent on global grouping and endogenous cueing. Front Integr Neurosci, 812. PMID: 24574982 [open access]

Barban, F., Carlesimo, G. A., Macaluso, E., Caltagirone, C., & Costa, A. (2014). Functional interplay between stimulus-oriented and stimulus-independent attending during a prospective memory task. Neuropsychologia, 53203-12. PMID: 24321271

Nardo, D., Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2014). Spatial orienting in complex audiovisual environments. Hum Brain Mapp, 35(4), 1597-614. PMID: 23616340

Macaluso, E., & Doricchi, F. (2013). Attention and predictions: control of spatial attention beyond the endogenous-exogenous dichotomy. Front Hum Neurosci, 7685. PMID: 24155707 [open access]

Ogawa, A., Bordier, C., & Macaluso, E. (2013). Audio-visual perception of 3D cinematography: an fMRI study using condition-based and computation-based analyses. PLoS One, 8(10), e76003. PMID: 24194828 [open access]

Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2013). The contribution of working memory to divided attention. Hum Brain Mapp, 34(1), 158-75. PMID: 22021081

Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2013). Visual salience improves spatial working memory via enhanced parieto-temporal functional connectivity. J Neurosci, 33(9), 4110-7. PMID: 23447619 [open access]

Ogawa, A., & Macaluso, E. (2013). Audio-visual interactions for motion perception in depth modulate activity in visual area V3A. Neuroimage, 71158-67. PMID: 23333414 [open access]

Bordier, C., Puja, F., & Macaluso, E. (2013). Sensory processing during viewing of cinematographic material: computational modeling and functional neuroimaging. Neuroimage, 67213-26. PMID: 23202431 [open access]

Kwok, S. C., Shallice, T., & Macaluso, E. (2012). Functional anatomy of temporal organisation and domain-specificity of episodic memory retrieval. Neuropsychologia, 50(12), 2943-55. PMID: 22877840 [open access]

Bueti, D., Lasaponara, S., Cercignani, M., & Macaluso, E. (2012). Learning about time: plastic changes and interindividual brain differences. Neuron, 75(4), 725-37. PMID: 22920262 [open access]

Nardo, D., Santangelo, V., & Macaluso, E. (2011). Stimulus-driven orienting of visuo-spatial attention in complex dynamic environments. Neuron, 69(5), 1015-28. PMID: 21382559 [open access]