Visual Attention in the fovea and the periphery during visual search

Jie Zhang, Xiaocang Zhu, Shanshan Wang, Zhengyu Ma, Hossein Esteky, Yonghong Tian, Robert Desimone, Huihui Zhou. bioRxiv, Mar 2022.


Visual search depends on both the foveal and peripheral visual system, yet the foveal attention mechanisms is still lack of insights. We simultaneously recorded the foveal and peripheral activities in V4, IT and LPFC, while monkeys performed a category-based visual search task. Feature attention enhanced responses of Face-selective, House-selective, and Non-selective foveal cells in visual cortex. While foveal attention effects appeared no matter the peripheral attention effects, paying attention to the foveal stimulus dissipated the peripheral feature attentional effects, and delayed the peripheral spatial attentional effects. When target features appeared both in the foveal and the peripheral, feature attention effects seemed to occur predominately in the foveal, which might not distribute across the visual field according to common view of distributed feature attention effects. As a result, the parallel attentive process seemed to occur during distractor fixations, while the serial process predominated during target fixations in visual search.