Frontal and Inferior Temporal Cortical Activity in Visual Target Detection: Evidence from High Spatially Sampled Event-Related Potentials

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ERP topography, N2, P2, Selective attention, Working memory, Current density mapping

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Visual event-related potential (ERP) studies show effects due to target detection in the P3 and in earlier negativities over posterior recording sites. The topography of these earlier components suggests contributions from both anterior and posterior neural generators, however these studies were performed with sparse recording arrays and may not have provided a full description of the scalp topography of the visual ERP. The current study employed a high-density recording array (64 channels) and spherical spline interpolated topographic voltage and current density maps to describe the scalp distribution of the major deflections in the visual ERP from a visual oddball paradigm: the P1, N1, N2/P2a (a temporally coincident posterior negativity and anterior positivity) and P3. A modified difference wave analysis was also performed to track the time-course of target detection effects in the ERP. Target detection effects were found in the N2/P2a and P3 components. The scalp distribution of the N2/P2a was consistent with separate frontal and posterior neural generators and this is discussed in reference to human hemodynamic and nonhuman primate studies of neural activity in the inferior temporal visual object recognition system and in frontal systems of selective attention and working memory in visual target detection tasks.

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Brain Topography, v. 9, issue 1, p. 3-14