The present study focuses on the question of whether inter- and intramodal forms of attention are reflected in activation of the same or different brain areas. ERPs were recorded while subjects were presented a random sequence of visual and auditory stimuli. They were instructed to attend to nonspatial attributes of either auditory or visual stimuli and to detect occasional target stimuli within the attended channel. An occipital selection negativity was found for intramodal attention to visual stimuli. Visual intermodal attention was also manifested in a similar negativity. A symmetrical dipole pair in the medial inferior occipital areas could account for the intramodal effects. Dipole pairs for the intermodal attention effect had a slightly more posterior location compared to the dipole pair for the intramodal effect. Auditory intermodal attention was manifested in an early enhanced negativity overlapping with the N1 and P2 components, which was localized using a symmetrical dipole pair in the lateral auditory cortex. The onset of the intramodal attention effect was somewhat later (around 200 ms), and was reflected in a frontal processing negativity. The present results indicate that intra- and intermodal forms of attention were indeed similar for visual stimuli. Auditory data suggest the involvement of multiple brain areas.
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