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In visual search, observers can successfully ignore temporally separated distractors that are presented as a preview before onset of the search display. Previous behavioral studies have demonstrated the involvement of top-down selection mechanisms in preview search, biasing attention against the old set in favor of the more relevant new set. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we replicate and extend findings showing the involvement of superior and inferior parietal areas in the preview task when compared to both a relatively easy single-set search task and a more effortful full-set search task. In contrast, the effortful full-set search showed activation in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex when compared to the single-set search, suggesting that this area is involved in rejecting additional distractors that could not be separated in time.

Original publication




Journal article


Human brain mapping

Publication Date





69 - 78


Department of Cognitive Psychology, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Cerebral Cortex, Prefrontal Cortex, Parietal Lobe, Nerve Net, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Brain Mapping, Orientation, Space Perception, Visual Perception, Psychomotor Performance, Attention, Neuropsychological Tests, Adult, Middle Aged, Female, Male, Functional Laterality