Temporo-parietal cortex involved in modeling one’s own and others’ attention

Arvid Guterstam, Branden J. Bio, Andrew I. Wilterson, Michael Graziano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In a traditional view, in social cognition, attention is equated with gaze and people track other people’s attention by tracking their gaze. Here, we used fMRI to test whether the brain represents attention in a richer manner. People read stories describing an agent (either oneself or someone else) directing attention to an object in one of two ways: either internally directed (endogenous) or externally induced (exogenous). We used multivoxel pattern analysis to examine how brain areas within the theory-of-mind network encoded attention type and agent type. Brain activity patterns in the left temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) showed significant decoding of information about endogenous versus exogenous attention. The left TPJ, left superior temporal sulcus (STS), precuneus, and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) significantly decoded agent type (self versus other). These findings show that the brain constructs a rich model of one’s own and others’ attentional state, possibly aiding theory of mind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere63551
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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