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Attention - oscillations and neuropharmacology

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander Thiele



Attention is a rich psychological and neurobiological construct that influences almost all aspects of cognitive behaviour. It enables enhanced processing of behaviourally relevant stimuli at the expense of irrelevant stimuli. At the cellular level, rhythmic synchronization at local and long-range spatial scales complements the attention-induced firing rate changes of neurons. The former is hypothesized to enable efficient communication between neuronal ensembles tuned to spatial and featural aspects of the attended stimulus. Recent modelling studies suggest that the rhythmic synchronization in the gamma range may be mediated by a fine balance between N-methyl-d-aspartate and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate postsynaptic currents, whereas other studies have highlighted the possible contribution of the neuromodulator acetylcholine. This review summarizes some recent modelling and experimental studies investigating mechanisms of attention in sensory areas and discusses possibilities of how glutamatergic and cholinergic systems could contribute to increased processing abilities at the cellular and network level during states of top-down attention.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Deco G, Thiele A

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Neuroscience

Year: 2009

Volume: 30

Issue: 3

Pages: 347-354

ISSN (print): 0953-816X

ISSN (electronic): 1460-9568



DOI: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2009.06833.x