Top-down attention affects sequential regularity representation in the human visual system.Int J Psychophysiol. 2010 Aug; 77(2):126-34.IJ
Recent neuroscience studies using visual mismatch negativity (visual MMN), an event-related brain potential (ERP) index of memory-mismatch processes in the visual sensory system, have shown that although sequential regularities embedded in successive visual stimuli can be automatically represented in the visual sensory system, an existence of sequential regularity itself does not guarantee that the sequential regularity will be automatically represented. In the present study, we investigated the effects of top-down attention on sequential regularity representation in the visual sensory system. Our results showed that a sequential regularity (SSSSD) embedded in a modified oddball sequence where infrequent deviant (D) and frequent standard stimuli (S) differing in luminance were regularly presented (SSSSDSSSSDSSSSD...) was represented in the visual sensory system only when participants attended the sequential regularity in luminance, but not when participants ignored the stimuli or simply attended the dimension of luminance per se. This suggests that top-down attention affects sequential regularity representation in the visual sensory system and that top-down attention is a prerequisite for particular sequential regularities to be represented.