1. Neuroscience
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Attention operates uniformly throughout the classical receptive field and the surround

  1. Bram-Ernst Verhoef  Is a corresponding author
  2. John HR Maunsell
  1. The University of Chicago, United States
Research Article
  • Cited 11
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Cite this article as: eLife 2016;5:e17256 doi: 10.7554/eLife.17256


Shifting attention between visual stimuli at different locations modulates neuronal responses in heterogeneous ways, depending on where those stimuli lie within the receptive fields of neurons. Yet how attention interacts with the receptive-field structure of cortical neurons remains unclear. We measured neuronal responses in area V4 while monkeys shifted their attention between stimuli placed in different locations within and around neuronal receptive fields. We found that attention interacts uniformly with the spatially-varying excitation and suppression associated with the receptive field. This interaction explained the large variability in attention modulation across neurons, and a non-additive relationship between stimulus selectivity, stimulus-induced suppression and attention modulation that has not been previously described. A spatially-tuned normalization model precisely accounted for all observed attention modulations and for the spatial summation properties of neurons. These results provide a unified account of spatial summation and attention-related modulation across both the classical receptive field and the surround.

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Author details

  1. Bram-Ernst Verhoef

    Department of Neurobiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    For correspondence
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-3535-9008
  2. John HR Maunsell

    Department of Neurobiology, The University of Chicago, Chicago, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0018-4439


Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek

  • Bram-Ernst Verhoef

National Institutes of Health (R01EY005911)

  • John HR Maunsell

National Institutes of Health (R01EY021550)

  • John HR Maunsell

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.


Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations inthe Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All procedures were approved by theInstitutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA; protocol #04214).

Reviewing Editor

  1. Doris Y Tsao, California Institute of Technology, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: April 26, 2016
  2. Accepted: August 20, 2016
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: August 22, 2016 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: September 13, 2016 (version 2)


© 2016, Verhoef & Maunsell

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.


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