Poster E3, Monday, March 27, 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Pacific Concourse
Cerebellar contributions to reflexive and voluntary covert visual attention
Christopher Striemer1,2, Brandon Craig1, Britt Anderson3, James Danckert3; 1MacEwan University, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 2University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 3University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Over the past 20 years evidence from functional neuroimaging and human lesion studies indicate that, in addition to its central role in motor control, the cerebellum may also play a role in controlling attention. Recent functional neuroimaging and patient work from our lab (and others) suggests that the cerebellum may play a greater role in controlling reflexive compared to voluntary covert attention (i.e., Striemer et al., 2015a; 2015b); However, this has never been examined directly. Therefore, in the current study, we compared the effects of cerebellar lesions (n=10) on reflexive and voluntary versions of Posner’s covert visual attention task in which participants must attend to peripheral locations without making eye movements. To examine reflexive covert attention, we used non-predictive peripheral cues, and stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) of 50, 100, 300, and 600ms. To examine voluntary covert attention, we used predictive central arrow cues, and SOAs of 250, 350, and 550ms. Preliminary results indicate that, for the reflexive covert attention task, patients with cerebellar injury demonstrate a larger overall cueing effect (i.e., invalid RTs – valid RTs), and a delayed onset of inhibition of return, compared to age-appropriate controls. In contrast, for the voluntary covert attention task, preliminary analyses suggest that there are no significant differences in the cueing effect for cerebellar patients vs. controls. Overall, these preliminary findings are consistent with the notion that the cerebellum plays an important role in controlling reflexive, but not voluntary covert attention shifts.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Spatial