Readout from iconic memory and selective spatial attention involve similar neural processes

Christian C. Ruff*, Árni Kristjánsson, Jon Driver

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Iconic memory and spatial attention are often considered separately, but they may have functional similarities. Here we provide functional magnetic resonance imaging evidence for some common underlying neural effects. Subjects judged three visual stimuli in one hemifield of a bilateral array comprising six stimuli. The relevant hemifield for partial report was indicated by an auditory cue, administered either before the visual array (precue, spatial attention) or shortly after the array (postcue, iconic memory). Pre- and postcues led to similar activity modulations in lateral occipital cortex contralateral to the cued side. This finding indicates that readout from iconic memory can have some neural effects similar to those of spatial attention. We also found common bilateral activation of a fronto-parietal network for postcue and precue trials. These neuroimaging data suggest that some common neural mechanisms underlie selective spatial attention and readout from iconic memory. Some differences were also found; compared with precues, postcues led to higher activity in the right middle frontal gyrus. ©

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-909
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


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