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Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience
Volume 2010, Article ID 329213, 6 pages
Research Article

Exploring Cortical Attentional System by Using fMRI during a Continuous Perfomance Test

Department of Bioengineering, IIT Unit, Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy

Received 14 June 2009; Accepted 20 August 2009

Academic Editor: Fabio Babiloni

Copyright © 2010 M. G. Tana et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed in eight healthy subjects to identify the localization, magnitude, and volume extent of activation in brain regions that are involved in blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) response during the performance of Conners' Continuous Performance Test (CPT). An extensive brain network was activated during the task including frontal, temporal, and occipital cortical areas and left cerebellum. The more activated cluster in terms of volume extent and magnitude was located in the right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Analyzing the dynamic trend of the activation in the identified areas during the entire duration of the sustained attention test, we found a progressive decreasing of BOLD response probably due to a habituation effect without any deterioration of the performances. The observed brain network is consistent with existing models of visual object processing and attentional control and may serve as a basis for fMRI studies in clinical populations with neuropsychological deficits in Conners' CPT performance.