Neural Mechanisms of Attention
How does the brain manage to attend to a specific object or region of visual space when it is confronted with innumerable objects,? How are we able to pick out a face in a large crowd, often so effortlessly? Such focussing of attention is known to involve some specific areas of the brain, but how these areas interact with each other have been largely unknown. Our recent studies are among the first to reveal interactions between two neocortical areas (medial temporal and posterior parietal) mediating spatial attention. These interactions reveal that near synchronous and oscillatory activity between these areas occurring at some specific frequencies (gamma range) are likely to mediate the parietal area facilitating neural activity at a specific location of interest in the medial temporal area. Such activity could be the basis of the spotlight of attention that we use in searching for objects in a cluttered scene. Our current work is aimed at further characterisation of the distributed processing that occurs with attention.
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