Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Scientific Reports


Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences


Attention may be oriented exogenously (i.e., involuntarily) to the location of salient stimuli, resulting in improved perception. However, it is unknown whether exogenous attention improves perception by facilitating processing of attended information, suppressing processing of unattended information, or both. To test this question, we measured behavioral performance and cue-elicited neural changes in the electroencephalogram as participants (N = 19) performed a task in which a spatially non-predictive auditory cue preceded a visual target. Critically, this cue was either presented at a peripheral target location or from the center of the screen, allowing us to isolate spatially specific attentional activity. We find that both behavior and attention-mediated changes in visual-cortical activity are enhanced at the location of a cue prior to the onset of a target, but that behavior and neural activity at an unattended target location is equivalent to that following a central cue that does not direct attention (i.e., baseline). These results suggest that exogenous attention operates via facilitation of information at an attended location.



Original Citation

Keefe, J.M., Pokta, E. & Störmer, V.S. Cross-modal orienting of exogenous attention results in visual-cortical facilitation, not suppression. Sci Rep 11, 10237 (2021).