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Hemispheric modulations of alpha-band power reflect the rightward shift in attention induced by enhanced attentional load.
Pérez, A., PEERS, P.V., Valdés-Sosa, M., Galán, L., García, L., Martínez-Montes, E.
Neuropsychologia, 47(1), 41-49
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Rightward shifts in attention are a common consequence of brain injury. A growing body of evidence appears to suggest that increases in attentional load, and decreases in alertness can lead to rightward shifts in attention in healthy and patient populations. It is unclear however whether these factors affect spatial biases in attention at the level of preparatory control processes or at the level of stimulus driven expression mechanisms. Whilst such effects cannot easily be dissociated behaviourally, the robust association between changes in α-band activity and shifts in visual attention provides a neural marker by which the temporal dynamics of effects of attentional load on spatial processing might be examined. Here we use electroencephalography to examine the relationship between modulations in α-band activity and behavioural outcome on a dual task paradigm comprising a detection task (t1), closely followed by a temporal order judgment task (t2). We examine the effects of high (respond to t1 and t2) and low (t2 only) attentional load conditions on spatial bias and changes in lateralization of α-band activity over the course of the trial. As anticipated a rightward bias in detecting target onsets was observed in the temporal order judgment task (t2) under conditions of high attentional load. This rightward shift in attention was associated with changes in the lateralization of α-band activity that occurred only after the presentation of t2, suggesting that attentional load may primarily influence expression mechanisms.