The Reorienting System of the Human Brain: From Environment to Theory of Mind

Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.
Neuron (Impact Factor: 15.98). 06/2008; 58(3):306-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2008.04.017
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Survival can depend on the ability to change a current course of action to respond to potentially advantageous or threatening stimuli. This "reorienting" response involves the coordinated action of a right hemisphere dominant ventral frontoparietal network that interrupts and resets ongoing activity and a dorsal frontoparietal network specialized for selecting and linking stimuli and responses. At rest, each network is distinct and internally correlated, but when attention is focused, the ventral network is suppressed to prevent reorienting to distracting events. These different patterns of recruitment may reflect inputs to the ventral attention network from the locus coeruleus/norepinephrine system. While originally conceptualized as a system for redirecting attention from one object to another, recent evidence suggests a more general role in switching between networks, which may explain recent evidence of its involvement in functions such as social cognition.

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Available from: Gaurav H Patel, May 15, 2014
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    • "Several key theories from neuroscience, in favour of which a considerable amount of evidence has been amassed, have served as the main motivations for the proposed framework: • Neurophysiologists have identified two highly interconnected attentional processes in the human brain: (1) a top-down (i.e., goal-oriented) modulation of bottomup (i.e., stimulus-driven -e.g., saliency) attentional capture by targets versus distractors that is believed to be implemented by what has been called the dorsal attention system. [11], [12], [13]; and (2) a coordinated attentional process consisting of bottom-up attentional capture by behaviourally relevant distractors (e.g., unexpected stimuli) that is believed to be implemented by the ventral attention system of the human brain, and is filtered by behavioural valences to reorient attention by resetting the current attentional set accordingly [12], [13]. • Graziano et al. [14], [15] have proposed the " awareness theory", in which the brain is suggested to possess functional sites devoted to building a simplified, schematic model of the current state of the complex data-handling process of attention, which would serve as a model of awareness. "
    2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Hamburg; 10/2015
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    • "And secondly , both brain regions should coordinate in time their unique functional contributions to ensure an efficient state of attentional control states in the face of changing environmental in - puts ( Xu , 2014 ). Both of these predictions about the IFG and TPJ as core regions of the ventral attention network ( Corbetta et al. , 2008 ) await to be fully explored and tested ( Bzdok et al. , 2013 ). For exam - ple , a growing body of evidence suggests that the coordination of dis - tant brain areas is realized by phase aligning their activity fluctuations to narrow band rhythmic activities ( Bosman et al. , 2012 ; Siegel et al . "
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    ABSTRACT: The inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and the temporo-parietal junction (TPJ) are believed to be core structures of human brain networks that activate when sensory top-down expectancies guide goal directed behavior and attentive perception. But it is unclear how activity in IFG and TPJ coordinates during attention demanding tasks and whether functional interactions between both structures are related to successful attentional performance. Here, we tested these questions in electrocorticographic (ECoG) recordings in human subjects using a visual detection task that required sustained attentional expectancy in order to detect non-salient, near-threshold visual events. We found that during sustained attention the successful visual detection was predicted by increased phase synchronization of band-limited 15–30 Hz beta band activity that was absent prior to misses. Increased beta-band phase alignment during attentional engagement early during the task was restricted to inferior and lateral prefrontal cortex, but with sustained attention it extended to long-range IFG–TPJ phase synchronization and included superior prefrontal areas. In addition to beta, a widely distributed network of brain areas comprising the occipital cortex showed enhanced and reduced alpha band phase synchronization before correct detections. These findings identify long-range phase synchrony in the 15–30 Hz beta band as the mesoscale brain signal that predicts the successful deployment of attentional expectancy of sensory events. We speculate that localized beta coherent states in prefrontal cortex index ‘top-down’ sensory expectancy whose coupling with TPJ subregions facilitates the gating of relevant visual information.
    NeuroImage 06/2015; · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    • "In adults, the two types of emotional attention are represented by different neural networks: For top-down emotional attention a dorsal frontoparietal network is activated including the dorsolateral prefrontal and the dorsal parietal cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Bottom-up emotional attention is modulated by a ventral frontoparietal network including the occipitotemporal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, and the amygdala (Corbetta et al., 2008; Iordan et al., 2013; Vuilleumier and Huang, 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Appropriate reactions toward emotional stimuli depend on the distribution of prefrontal attentional resources. In mid-adolescence, prefrontal top-down control systems are less engaged, while subcortical bottom-up emotional systems are more engaged. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to follow the neural development of attentional distribution, i.e. attending versus ignoring emotional stimuli, in adolescence. 144 healthy adolescents were studied longitudinally at age 14 and 16 while performing a perceptual discrimination task. Participants viewed two pairs of stimuli - one emotional, one abstract - and reported on one pair whether the items were the same or different, while ignoring the other pair. Hence, two experimental conditions were created: "attending emotion/ignoring abstract" and "ignoring emotion/attending abstract". Emotional valence varied between negative, positive, and neutral. Across conditions, reaction times and error rates decreased and activation in the anterior cingulate and inferior frontal gyrus increased from age 14 to 16. In contrast, subcortical regions showed no developmental effect. Activation of the anterior insula increased across ages for attending positive and ignoring negative emotions. Results suggest an ongoing development of prefrontal top-down resources elicited by emotional attention from age 14 to 16 while activity of subcortical regions representing bottom-up processing remains stable. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
    Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience 05/2015; 13. DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2015.05.001 · 3.71 Impact Factor
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