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ATTENTIONAL
PROCESSING AND ITS
DISORDERS



SECTION X

A SHORT HISTORY OF ATTENTION


RESEARCH

T YPES OF ATTENTION
Aler%ng
Orien%ng
Covert a0en%on
Sustained A0en%on
Focused A0en%on
Divided A0en%on
Execu%ve A0en%on 1
1The

exe c u t i ve a t te n t i o n n e t w o r k w i l l b e d e s c r i b e d i n d e t a i l i n t h e s e c t i o n : E xe c u t i ve
Fu n c t i o n i n g

AUTOMATIC CONTROLLED PROCESSING


Psychologists have known that a0en%on cannot be con%nuously
available.
Tasks are oCen performed in the automa%c mode of informa%on
processing. These tasks are:
Eortless,
Require li0le capacity and
Are fast in their execu%on.

Tasks that are performed in the controlled mode of processing
require:
Eort,
Limited by capacity
Require %me.

Pa%ents are oCen assessed by tests that require controlled


processing.

Repe%%on of a test or task, alterna%vely the use of a well-
known task, will give informa%on on the automa&c rather than
controlled processing.

Dierences in tests or pa%ents can be due to this factor and not
due to a0en%on per se.

PASSING FROM CONTROLLED TO


AUTOMATIC
An unfamiliar task requires out a0en%on to execute; this is the
controlled mode of processing.

If the task demands and response outputs remain consistent over
%me, we learn to perform the task quickly, without capacity
limita%ons and and with decreasing eort (Default Mode
Network).

STRUCTURE OF ATTENTIONAL
NETWORKS
Parietal lobe
Temporal lobe
Frontal Lobe
Connected by
Dorsal and Ventral pathways

Posner Attention Paradigm

ALERTING NETWORK

ORIENTING NETWORK

Covert Attention:
Is when we look at one thing but attend to
another. For example, look straight ahead but
read a sign on the edge of our peripheral vision
(looking out of the corner of your eye.
Posner et al.'s (1977) demonstrated that we
can quickly orient visual attention to particular
spatial areas (space-based attention) in 50 to
150 ms.
Subsequently, it was shown that such orienting
may occur independently of changes in eye
fixations.
Egly, Driver, & Rafal (1994) found that people
can also orient their attention to particular
objects or groups of objects or in addition to
particular spatial areas.

COVERT ATTENTION

A typical covert attention task with Valid and Invalid cues. In the invalid condition the
participant must re-orientate their attention and suppress a response.

COVERT ATTENTION AND BRAIN


NETWORKS

REORIENTING AND INFERIOR PARIETAL


CORTEX

Focusing Attention and Reorienting Attention Recruit Interacting


Networks

SWITCHING ATTENTION BETWEEN TRIALS


WITHIN A TASK
D.J. Madden et al. / NeuroImage 52 (2010) 643657

Higher activation on switch trials than on repeat trials

EFFECT OF COVERT ATTENTION ON


EMOTIONAL PROCESSING
S. Brassen et al. / NeuroImage 50 (2010) 545551

(i) directed spatial attention results in a reduced activation of the fusiform face area
although task demands and visual fixation on the emotional faces were identical.
(ii) the amygdala responds to fearful faces when spatial attention was not specifically
shifted away, but significantly lost activation when a directional cue was presented.
Data point to a task-irrelevant amygdala activation by fearful faces which, however,
depends on a sufficient attentional engagement on these faces.

ATTENTIONAL NETWORKS
Dorsal attention network
Parietal lobe,
Frontal lobe

SUSTAINED ATTENTION
Ability to maintain performance with &me-on-task

Ascending Re%culatory Ac%va%ng System essen%al for sustained a0en%on.

SUSTAINED ATTENTION PARADIGM


Con%nuous Performance task.

Historical development: Macworth (1950)

Dependent variables: d (sensi%vity) Ability to discriminate signal
from noise (True Posi%ves versus False Posi%ves)

: response bias: choose to detect all signals and hence commit
many false alarms or choose to say the signal is not there and
have many true nega%ves but also may false nega%ves (misses).

Reac%on %me (RT): Increase of RT with %me-on-task.

Dorsal and ventral attention pathways; Pulvinar function in


attention
Pulvinar:
Selec%on of
targets in the
visual eld
(switching of
a0en%on).

FOCUSED ATTENTION

DIVIDED ATTENTION

Figure 22.6 Divided Attention Recruits Prefrontal Cortex

Kolb/Whishaw: Fundamentals of Human Neuropsychology, Sixth Edition


Copyright 2008 by Worth Publishers

DIVIDED & FOCUSED ATTENTION


BETWEEN MODALITIES

ATTENTION AND STATE (SLEEP


DEPRIVATION)

Task: Recognition of Scenes or Faces


SD: Sleep deprivation; RW Regular Sleep
Sleep deprivation may affect selective object
attention in addition to exerting a taskindependent deficit in attention.

POSNERS ATTENTIONAL CONTROL


MODEL

LOCATIONS INVOLVED IN EXECUTIVE ATTENTION

Executive attention

Cingulate gyrus

Space
Visual orienting

Working
memory
Words

Visual features

EXECUTIVE ATTENTION

NEURAL LAPSES OF ATTENTION

Variations of response time in a selective attention task are linked to variations of


functional connectivity in the attentional network Prado et al (2011)
Increases in RT (more
attentional demands)
were associated with
reductions of functional
connectivity between
the ACC seed and
(a) the right DLPFC and
(b) bilateral regions of
the posterior parietal
cortex (PPC).
This indicates that
increases in RT
(attentional demands)
are associated with
reductions of functional
connectivity between
the ACC and the right
DLPFC.