The control of visuo-spatial attention entails the joint contribution of goal-directed (endogenous) and stimulus-driven (exogenous) factors. However, little is known about the neural bases of the interplay between these two mechanisms. To address this issue, we presented endogenous (spatially informative) and exogenous (noninformative) visual cues sequentially within the same trial (double-cue paradigm) during fMRI, crossing factorially the validity of the two cues. We found that both endogenous and exogenous cues affected behavioral performance, speeding-up or slowing-down target discrimination when valid and invalid, respectively. Despite the double-cue paradigm maximizes the interplay between endogenous and exogenous factors, the two types of cue affected responses in an independent manner without any significant effect of congruence. The imaging data revealed increased activation in separate cortical areas following invalid endogenous and invalid exogenous cues. A fronto-parietal system was activated during invalid endogenous trials, whereas a region at the temporo-occipital junction was activated during invalid exogenous trials. Within both circuits, activity was unaffected by the validity of the other cue. These results indicate the existence of separate, noninteracting neural circuits for endogenous and exogenous reorienting of visuo-spatial attention.
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