Analyzing and shaping human attentional networks

Department of Psychology, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, United States
Neural Networks (Impact Factor: 2.71). 12/2006; 19(9):1422-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.neunet.2006.08.004
Source: PubMed


In this paper we outline a conception of attentional networks arising from imaging studies as connections between activated brain areas carrying out localized mental operations. We consider both the areas of functional activation (nodes) and the structural (DTI) and functional connections (DCM) between them in real time (EEG, frequency analysis) as important tools in analyzing the network. The efficiency of network function involves the time course of activation of nodes and their connectivity to other areas of the network. We outline landmarks in the development of brain networks underlying executive attention from infancy and childhood. We use individual differences in network efficiency to examine genetic alleles that are related to performance. We consider how animal studies might be used to determine the genes that influence network development. Finally we indicate how training may aid in enhancing attentional networks. Our goal is to show the wide range of methods that can be used to suggest and analyze models of network function in the study of attention.

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    • "Because these brain structures are still immature during childhood, conflict network capacity shows strong development during this period (Posner et al., 2006). Another strength of the conflict score is that there is a considerable evidence that this network is related to the acquisition of literacy and numeracy skill, which are highly correlated to overall school achievement (McCandliss et al., 2003; Posner et al., 2006). Given the above arguments and the promising results reported in this study, we consider that the conflict score represents an interesting measure that should be considered for use in epidemiological studies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Computerized neuropsychological tests offered several advantages for large epidemiological studies to assess child neuropsychological development. We aimed to evaluate the psychometric properties and criterion validity of 2 computerized tests (n-back and attentional network task [ANT]) used to assess the working memory and attention function, respectively. As part of the BREATHE (BRain dEvelopment and Air polluTion ultrafine particles in scHool childrEn) project, we evaluated the neuropsychological development of 2,904 children between 7 to 9 years of age. The main outcomes of the n-back test were d' scores and hit reaction time (RT) (HRT). The outcomes measured for ANT were incorrect responses, omissions, alerting, orienting, and conflict. We also collected data of child's sex, age, school achievement, ADHD symptomatology, behavioral problems, and maternal education. We observed that the d' scores and HRT showed acceptable internal consistency, reasonable factorial structure, as well as good criterion validity and statistical dependencies. Regarding the ANT, incorrect responses, omissions, and conflict score had acceptable criterion validity although the internal consistency of the ANT was low. We strongly recommend the use of these tests in environmental epidemiological studies as valid, objective, and easy-to-apply measures of child neuropsychological development. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Neuropsychology 05/2014; 28(4). DOI:10.1037/neu0000085 · 3.27 Impact Factor
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    • "This form of imaging traces diffusion of water molecules in long myelinated fibers and provides a means of examining the physical connections present in the brain. DTI studies have shown that the dorsal (cognitive) part of the ACC is connected primarily to parietal and frontal lobes, while the ventral (emotional) part of the ACC has strong connections to subcortical limbic areas [19]. The executive attention network also includes the underlying striatum and adjacent areas of the midprefrontal cortex. "
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    ABSTRACT: Brain networks underlying attention are present even during infancy and are critical for the developing ability of children to control their emotions and thoughts. For adults, individual differences in the efficiency of attentional networks have been related to neuromodulators and to genetic variations. We have examined the development of attentional networks and child temperament in a longitudinal study from infancy (7 months) to middle childhood (7 years). Early temperamental differences among infants, including smiling and laughter and vocal reactivity, are related to self-regulation abilities at 7 years. However, genetic variations related to adult executive attention, while present in childhood, are poor predictors of later control, in part because individual genetic variationmay have many small effects and in part because their influence occurs in interaction with caregiver behavior and other environmental influences. While brain areas involved in attention are present during infancy, their connectivity changes and leads to improvement in control of behavior. It is also possible to influence control mechanisms through training later in life. The relation between maturation and learning may allow advances in our understanding of human brain development.
    05/2014; 2014(1):405094. DOI:10.1155/2014/405094
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    • "The advantage of this approach is that, rather than singling out a certain brain system for a certain set of cognitive abilities (e.g., the TPJ for belief reasoning), we can pursue a better understanding of the mind–environment interaction over a developmental continuum. For example, the FOR-based account proposed here largely relies on the mechanisms of attentional network in spatial cognition, which have been extensively studied on from non-human animals to human infants and adults (for reviews, see, Corbetta and Shulman, 2002; Posner et al., 2006; Corbetta et al., 2008; Kavšek, 2013). Thus, this account may provide not only a transparent partitioning of the environmental statistics, but also potential explanations for the relationship between different abilities and the development of specific attentional networks. "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent research has seen a growing interest in connections between domains of spatial and social cognition. Much evidence indicates that processes of representing space in distinct frames of reference (FOR) contribute to basic spatial abilities as well as sophisticated social abilities such as tracking other's intention and belief. Argument remains, however, that belief reasoning in social domain requires an innately dedicated system and cannot be reduced to low-level encoding of spatial relationships. Here we offer an integrated account advocating the critical roles of spatial representations in intrinsic frame of reference. By re-examining the results from a spatial task (Tamborello etal., 2012) and a false-belief task (Onishi and Baillargeon, 2005), we argue that spatial and social abilities share a common origin at the level of spatio-temporal association and predictive learning, where multiple FOR-based representations provide the basic building blocks for efficient and flexible partitioning of the environmental statistics. We also discuss neuroscience evidence supporting these mechanisms. We conclude that FOR-based representations may bridge the conceptual as well as the implementation gaps between the burgeoning fields of social and spatial cognition.
    Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 02/2014; 8(1):58. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00058 · 3.63 Impact Factor
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