When we learn to make one motor response to one visual stimulus and a different motor response to another, representations of these stimulus- response associations must be maintained to efficiently transduce perception into action. When an irrelevant distractor is presented adjacent to a target stimulus, interference is observed when the two stimuli are associated with conflicting responses, presumably due to response channel activation by the incompatible information. We have explored the neural bases of these interference effects. In a previous study, patients with hemispatial neglect showed normal interference from contralesional flankers. In another study, patients with lesions of the lateral prefrontal cortex were found not to show interference from distractors presented in the contralesional hemifield. The current study provided a more anatomically detailed investigation of the effects of posterior association cortex lesions on flanker interference. Patients with chronic, unilateral lesions involving the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), two of whom had hemispatial neglect, were compared with patients with lesions of the posterior association cortex not involving the TPJ. All patients performed a color discrimination task at fixation while a congruent or incongruent colored flanker was briefly presented (16.7 ms) in the adjacent contralesional or ipsilesional hemifield. Patients with TPJ lesions showed no interference effects from the contralesional flankers. These results suggest that the TPJ, in combination with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, is involved in transducing perception into action.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by U.S. PHS Training Fellowship MH19930 to T. Ro and by U.S. PHS Grant MH51400 to the last three authors. We thank Harris Ingle and Stephanie Cheifet for help with making the neuroimage reconstruction figures and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.