On the Relevance of Posterior and Midfrontal Theta Activity for Visuospatial Attention

Dariusz Asanowicz, Bartłomiej Panek, Ilona Kotlewska, Rob van der Lubbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The aim of this study was to examine whether oscillatory activity in the theta-band is relevant for selective visuospatial attention when there is a need for the suppression of interfering and distracting information. A variant of the Eriksen flanker task was employed with bilateral arrays: one array consisting of a target and congruent or incongruent flankers and the second array consisting of neutral distractors. The bilateral arrays were preceded either by a 100% valid spatial cue or by a neutral cue. In the cue–target interval, a major burst in medial frontal theta power was observed, which was largest in the spatial cue condition. In the latter condition, additionally a posterior theta increase was observed that was larger over sites ipsilateral to the forthcoming target array. Functional connectivity analyses revealed that this pretarget posterior theta was related to the midfrontal theta. No such effects were observed in the neutral cue condition. After onset of the bilateral arrays, a major burst in posterior theta activity was observed in both cue conditions, which again was larger above sites ipsilateral to the target array. Furthermore, this posterior theta was in all cases related to the midfrontal theta. Taken together, the findings suggest that a fronto-posterior theta network plays an important role in the suppression of irrelevant and conflicting visual information. The results also suggest that the reciprocal relation between visuospatial attention and executive response control may be closer than commonly thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1972-2001
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of cognitive neuroscience
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


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