Dopamine influences attentional rate modulation in Macaque posterior parietal cortex.

Jochem van Kempen*, Christian Brandt, Claudia Distler, Mark A. Bellgrove, Alexander Thiele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Cognitive neuroscience has made great strides in understanding the neural substrates of attention, but our understanding of its neuropharmacology remains incomplete. Although dopamine has historically been studied in relation to frontal functioning, emerging evidence suggests important dopaminergic influences in parietal cortex. We recorded single- and multi-unit activity whilst iontophoretically administering dopaminergic agonists and antagonists while rhesus macaques performed a spatial attention task. Out of 88 units, 50 revealed activity modulation by drug administration. Dopamine inhibited firing rates according to an inverted-U shaped dose–response curve and increased gain variability. D1 receptor antagonists diminished firing rates according to a monotonic function and interacted with attention modulating gain variability. Finally, both drugs decreased the pupil light reflex. These data show that dopamine shapes neuronal responses and modulates aspects of attentional processing in parietal cortex.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6914
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 28. Apr 2022


  • Animals
  • Attention/physiology
  • Dopamine
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Neurons/physiology
  • Parietal Lobe/physiology


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