Navigation Links
Scientists discover brain's anti-distraction system
Date:4/18/2014

Two Simon Fraser University psychologists have made a brain-related discovery that could revolutionize doctors' perception and treatment of attention-deficit disorders.

This discovery opens up the possibility that environmental and/or genetic factors may hinder or suppress a specific brain activity that the researchers have identified as helping us prevent distraction.

The Journal of Neuroscience has just published a paper about the discovery by John McDonald, an associate professor of psychology and his doctoral student John Gaspar, who made the discovery during his master's thesis research.

This is the first study to reveal our brains rely on an active suppression mechanism to avoid being distracted by salient irrelevant information when we want to focus on a particular item or task.

McDonald, a Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience, and other scientists first discovered the existence of the specific neural index of suppression in his lab in 2009. But, until now, little was known about how it helps us ignore visual distractions.

"This is an important discovery for neuroscientists and psychologists because most contemporary ideas of attention highlight brain processes that are involved in picking out relevant objects from the visual field. It's like finding Waldo in a Where's Waldo illustration," says Gaspar, the study's lead author.

"Our results show clearly that this is only one part of the equation and that active suppression of the irrelevant objects is another important part."

Given the proliferation of distracting consumer devices in our technology-driven, fast-paced society, the psychologists say their discovery could help scientists and health care professionals better treat individuals with distraction-related attentional deficits.

"Distraction is a leading cause of injury and death in driving and other high-stakes environments," notes McDonald, the study's senior author. "There are individual differences in the ability to deal with distraction. New electronic products are designed to grab attention. Suppressing such signals takes effort, and sometimes people can't seem to do it.

"Moreover, disorders associated with attention deficits, such as ADHD and schizophrenia, may turn out to be due to difficulties in suppressing irrelevant objects rather than difficulty selecting relevant ones."

The researchers are now turning their attention to understanding how we deal with distraction. They're looking at when and why we can't suppress potentially distracting objects, whether some of us are better at doing so and why that is the case.

"There's evidence that attentional abilities decline with age and that women are better than men at certain visual attentional tasks," says Gaspar, the study's first author.

The study was based on three experiments in which 47 students performed an attention-demanding visual search task. Their mean age was 21. The researchers studied their neural processes related to attention, distraction and suppression by recording electrical brain signals from sensors embedded in a cap they wore.


'/>"/>

Contact: Carol Thorbes
cthorbes@sfu.ca
778-782-3035
Simon Fraser University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Scientists solving the mystery of human consciousness
2. Scientists uncover multiple faces of deadly breast cancer
3. Scientists identify major source of cells defense against oxidative stress
4. Scientists tailor cell surface targeting system to hit organelle ZIP codes
5. Scientists rewrite rulebook on breast cancer in landmark global study
6. Warwick scientists uncover how checkpoint proteins bind chromosomes
7. NIH scientists link quickly spreading gene to Asian MRSA epidemic
8. Joslin scientists identify important mechanism that affects the aging process
9. Scripps Research scientists show how memory B cells stay in class to fight different infections
10. Scientists Map Melanomas Genome
11. A*STAR scientists discover switch to boost anti-viral response to fight infectious diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/14/2017)... ... 14, 2017 , ... AgileMinder develops innovative products and services that bring "Care, ... available on Apple as a fun, free emoji sticker pack for iMessage. Use the ... ten color coded values on The Emoji Scale. , On Apple: "The Emoji ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... sugar levels. Counting carbohydrates is as easy as checking the nutrition label on ... affects blood sugar levels. Despite being sugar-free, proteins can influence — either positively ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... , ... January 13, 2017 , ... A January 10 ... five procedures for 2017 according to the publication, with an emphasis on some new ... Jarrah-Nejad, M.D., F.I.C.S., F.A.C.S., who is known more casually to his patients and colleagues ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... Moody Zook has taken on the challenge of providing additional organic alternatives for ... During the launch of the brand’s new line of all-natural activated charcoal products, ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... ... An inventor from Virginia Beach, Va., is always on the lookout for ... outfits, so he decided to design something that enhances the look of a belt, ... belt to allow for quick, easy changing of its look. This not only diversifies ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/12/2017)... -- Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH), ... it has concluded agreements with the U.S. Department of ... (SEC) to resolve the previously disclosed U.S. Foreign Corrupt ... as in relation to the former deferred prosecution agreement ... with DOJ and SEC, respectively, on March 26, 2012.  ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... 2017  BioPharmX Corporation (NYSE MKT: BPMX), a specialty pharmaceutical ... findings at this week,s Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic & Clinical (ODAC) ... acnes -induced inflammation. The data will be shared ... Acne Pathogenesis," at ODAC, which is being held Jan. 13-16 ... ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... -- This new report from VPGMarketResearch contains 897 pages, ... German hospital microbiology testing market, including:  ... practice, as well as key economic, regulatory, demographic, social ... next ten years.  ... of major infectious diseases and microorganisms.  ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: