Navigation Links
Bound by attention: Bringing rats and humans together
Date:11/18/2008

When picking through a basket of fruit, it doesn't seem very difficult to recognize a green pear from a green apple. This is easy, thanks to "feature binding" a process by which our brain combines all of the specific features of an object and gives us a complete and unified picture of it. For example, upon first seeing the fruit basket, our brain immediately gets to work, connecting (or binding) information about each fruit's shape to its color to ensure that we select the green apple we are craving instead of a green pear. However, if our brain gets distracted, our ability for feature binding is reduced and we may inadvertently end up biting into the green pear instead. It was well known which areas of the brain are involved in feature binding, but it was unclear which neurotransmitters (or brain chemicals) contribute to this important process.

Psychologists Leigh C.P. Botly and Eve De Rosa from the University of Toronto wanted to investigate if acetylcholine is involved in feature binding. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is important for attention and seemed like a good candidate for playing a role in feature binding as well. A group of volunteers participated in a feature binding task (choosing among various shapes and colors), with some of them being distracted throughout the duration of the task. The psychologists also developed a feature binding task for rats (having them choose among variously scented food bowls) and treated some of the animals with the drug scopolamine, which temporarily blocks the effects of acetylcholine.

The results, reported in the November issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, showed that patterns of behavior were very similar in distracted humans and rats on scopolamine. Both the drug treated rats and distracted humans had a decreased ability to complete the feature binding task (which required the ability to combine many different features of an object together) although their ability to process just single features of an object (e.g. one specific color or odor) was not affected. In other words, blocking the rats' cholinergic system (by using scopolamine) made them behave similarly to distracted humans, suggesting that the neurotransmitter acetylcholine is necessary for feature binding to occur. The authors note that "acetylcholine may provide the attentional 'glue' for feature binding."

Their findings have important clinical implications, as the development of a better animal model of distraction and inattention may lead to improved therapies and treatments for a variety of disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.


'/>"/>

Contact: Catherine West
cwest@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. CVS Caremark All Kids Can Announces the Opening of a Boundless Playground in Los Angeles to Serve Children of All Abilities
2. Transplantation: molecular miscegenation blurs the boundary between self and non-self
3. Tomlinson Attributes Rebound to Anti-Inflammatory Cream
4. Hydration Will Be Key For Beijing Bound Olympians, What Every Athlete Must Know
5. Tri-anim and Bound Tree Medical Merge to Create Nations Leading Specialty Health Care Distributor
6. Racial disparities in the outcomes of patients with chronic kidney disease abound
7. Survey: Parents Let Their Own Experiences Affect Drug and Alcohol Boundaries Set for Teens at Prom and Graduation Parties
8. 2,500 Riders in AIDS/LifeCycle Set to Leave San Francisco June 1, Bound for Los Angeles, Raising a Record $11+ Million for HIV/AIDS Services
9. Lucrative Sales Opportunities Abound With Melaleuca, The Wellness Company(R)
10. CNA/NNOC Statement on Restraining Order Against SEIU: Threats, Harassment and Stalking of RNs Remain Out of Bounds
11. Breaking Boundaries Program Honors Colorectal Cancer Survivors for Outstanding Leadership Achievements
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... An educational campaign aimed at everyone ... courtesy of awareness-driven celebrities and thought leaders. It also provides insight to the ... leaders such as Bioness. , As patients feel increasingly concerned about the ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... Killeen, Texas (PRWEB) , ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... with satisfying Army body fat composition regulations. This is the first time that ... are normally screened at least every six months to ensure they meet the prescribed ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Aimed at nurses and employees in the health ... of leaders in the nursing and health care industry. It also provides insight to ... Christian University. , As the nursing industry is coming out of one of ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... With a team of certified experts, ... Aside from its GMP accreditation, Validation Center is also a registered authority of ... and staff. , Validation Center is ISO17025 accredited and only offers its clients ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... There are many ways to cook a hot dog, ... that Americans prefer their dogs straight off the grill. Of the 90 percent of ... way to cook a hot dog, far outpacing other cooking methods such as steaming ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... Germany and GERMANTOWN, Maryland ... (NASDAQ: QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today ... co-development agreement with Therawis Diagnostics GmbH to develop and commercialize ... develop and market PITX2 as a marker to predict effectiveness ... cancer patients. "We are pleased to partner with ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , May 25, 2016 ... & Expo earlier this month, the numbers and momentum ... continue to climb into the billions, more research and ... released 4th Edition State of Legal Marijuana Markets Report ... cannabis-focused data-analysis firm, much of the increase in sector ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... , May 25, 2016 ... employing the precision of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) ... announces the appointment of Professor Clive Morris ... medical leadership across the clinical development programme, scientific ... products help deliver significant improvements in clinical outcomes ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: