Frontal, parietal and temporal brain areas are differentially activated when disambiguating potential objects of joint attention

Kraemer, P. M. and Görner, M. and Ramezanpour, H. and Dicke, P. W. and Thier, P.. (2020) Frontal, parietal and temporal brain areas are differentially activated when disambiguating potential objects of joint attention. eNeuro, 7 (5). pp. 1-13.

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Humans establish joint attention with others by following the other’s gaze. Previous work has suggested that a cortical patch (gaze-following patch, GFP) close to the posterior superior temporal sulcus (pSTS) may serve as a link between the extraction of the other’s gaze direction and the resulting shifts of attention, mediated by human lateral intraparietal area (hLIP). However, it is not clear how the brain copes with situations in which information on gaze direction alone is insufficient to identify the target object because more than one may lie along the gaze vector. In this fMRI study, we tested human subjects on a paradigm that allowed the identification of a target object based on the integration of the other’s gaze direction and information provided by an auditory cue on the relevant object category. Whereas the GFP activity turned out to be fully determined by the use of gaze direction, activity in hLIP reflected the total information needed to pinpoint the target. Moreover, in an exploratory analysis, we found that a region in the inferior frontal junction (IFJ) was sensitive to the total information on the target. An examination of the BOLD time courses in the three identified areas suggests functionally complementary roles. Although the GFP seems to primarily process directional information stemming from the other’s gaze, the IFJ may help to analyze the scene when gaze direction and auditory information are not sufficient to pinpoint the target. Finally, hLIP integrates both streams of information to shift attention to distinct spatial locations.
Faculties and Departments:07 Faculty of Psychology > Departement Psychologie > Ehemalige Einheiten Psychologie > Decision Neuroscience (Gluth)
UniBasel Contributors:Kraemer, Peter M
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:03 Nov 2021 15:55
Deposited On:03 Nov 2021 15:55

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