Navigation Links
Study offers new clue on how brain processes visual information
Date:7/23/2012

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. July 23, 2012 Ever wonder how the human brain, which is constantly bombarded with millions of pieces of visual information, can filter out what's unimportant and focus on what's most useful?

The process is known as selective attention and scientists have long debated how it works. But now, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have discovered an important clue. Evidence from an animal study, published in the July 22 online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience, shows that the prefrontal cortex is involved in a previously unknown way.

Two types of attention are utilized in the selective attention process bottom up and top down. Bottom-up attention is automatically guided to images that stand out from a background by virtue of color, shape or motion, such as a billboard on a highway. Top-down attention occurs when one's focus is consciously shifted to look for a known target in a visual scene, as when searching for a relative in a crowd.

Traditionally, scientists have believed that separate areas of the brain controlled these two processes, with bottom-up attention occurring in the posterior parietal cortex and top-down attention occurring in the prefrontal cortex.

"Our findings provide insights on the neural mechanisms behind the guidance of attention," said Christos Constantinidis, Ph.D., associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist and senior author of the study. "This has implications for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects millions of people worldwide. People with ADHD have difficulty filtering information and focusing attention. Our findings suggest that both the ability to focus attention intentionally and shifting attention to eye-catching but sometimes unimportant stimuli depend on the prefrontal cortex."

In the Wake Forest Baptist study, two monkeys were trained to detect images on a computer screen while activity in both areas of the brain was recorded. The visual display was designed to let one image "pop out" due to its color difference from the background, such as a red circle surrounded by green. To trigger bottom-up attention, neither the identity nor the location of the pop-out image could be predicted before it appeared. The monkeys indicated that they detected the pop-out image by pushing a lever.

The neural activity associated with identifying the pop-out images occurred in the prefrontal cortex at the same time as in the posterior parietal cortex. This unexpected finding indicates early involvement of the prefrontal cortex in bottom-up attention, in addition to its known role in top-down attention, and provides new insights into the neural mechanisms of attention.

"We hope that our findings will guide future work targeting attention deficits," Constantinidis said.


'/>"/>
Contact: Marguerite Beck
marbeck@wakehealth.edu
336-716-2415
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Not All HIV Patients in U.S. Show Same Characteristics: Study
2. Women With HIV May Not Have Higher Cervical Cancer Risk: Study
3. HIV suppression not as good as previously thought, largest study of viral-load blood tests show
4. Benefits of HIV drugs rise -- but less than previously believed, Penn study shows
5. Study examines characteristics, risk factors among HIV-positive persons born outside the US
6. Vitamin D May Delay Deterioration of Smokers Lungs: Study
7. Biology Leaves Gay Men Highly Vulnerable to HIV: Study
8. Older Americans See Better Today, Study Finds
9. Autumn Birthday Ups Odds of Living to 100: Study
10. Rutgers study: Anxiety disorders in poor moms likely to result from poverty, not mental illness
11. Monkey Study Suggests Long-Term Use of ADHD Drugs Safe
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... cutting edge technology to revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for the millions ... aware of how Uber has disrupted the taxi industry through the use of ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply is ... of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that have ... Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root Extract ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Miami, FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: ... The closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland ... iHire in recognition of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness ... & Wellness Symposium at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son ... lash out at his family verbally and physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t ... would use it. He would throw rocks at my other children and say he was ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Pa. , June 23, 2016 Bracket ... will launch its next generation clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA ... Meeting held on June 26 – 30, 2016 in ... the first electronic Clinical Outcome Assessment product of its kind ... Booth #715. Bracket eCOA 6.0 is a flexible ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... and INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 ... Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any indication, the ... announced today online at www.diabetesscholars.org by the ... diabetes stand in the way of academic and community ... Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and continues to advocate ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Revolutionary technology includes multi-speaker listening to conquer ... in advanced audiology and hearing aid technology, has today ... world,s first internet connected hearing aid that opens up ...      (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382240 ) , ... , TwinLink™ - the first dual communication ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: