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Turning the Mind's Eye Inward: The Interplay between Selective Attention and Working Memory

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197217 Year: Pages: 170 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-721-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Historically, cognitive sciences have considered selective attention and working memory as largely separated cognitive functions. That is, selective attention as a concept is typically reserved for the processes that allow for the prioritization of specific sensory input, while working memory entails more central structures for maintaining (and operating on) temporary mental representations. However, over the last decades various observations have been reported that question such sharp distinction. Most importantly, information stored in working memory has been shown to modulate selective attention processing – and vice versa. At the theoretical level, these observations are paralleled by an increasingly dominant focus on working memory as (involving) the attended part of long-term memory, with some positions considering that working memory is equivalent to selective attention turned to long-term memory representations – or internal selective attention. This questions the existence of working memory as a dedicated cognitive function and raises the need for integrative accounts of working memory and attention. The next step will be to explore the precise implications of attentional accounts of WM for the understanding of specific aspects and characteristics of WM, such as serial order processing, its modality-specificity, its capacity limitations, its relation with executive functions, as well as the nature of attentional mechanisms involved. This research topic in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience aims at bringing together the latest insights and findings about the interplay between working memory and selective attention.

Theories of Visual Attention - linking cognition, neuropsychology, and neurophysiology

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889196371 Year: Pages: 112 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-637-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-08-16 10:34:25
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The Neural Theory of Visual Attention of Bundesen, Habekost, and Kyllingsbæk (2005) was proposed as a neural interpretation of Bundesen’s (1990) theory of visual attention (TVA). In NTVA, visual attention functions via two mechanisms: by dynamic remapping of receptive fields of cortical cells such that more cells are devoted to behaviorally important objects than to less important ones (filtering) and by multiplicative scaling of the level of activation in cells coding for particular features (pigeonholing). NTVA accounts for a wide range of known attentional effects in human performance and a wide range of effects observed in firing rates of single cells in the primate visual system and thus provides a mathematical framework to unify the 2 fields of research. In this Research Topic of Frontiers in Psychology, some of the leading theories of visual attention at both the cognitive, neuropsychological, and neurophysiological levels are presented and evaluated. In addition, the Research Topic encompasses application of the framework of NTVA to various patient populations and to neuroimaging as well as genetic and psychopharmacological studies.

Keywords

neural --- visual --- Attention --- computational --- Model

Neuroimaging and Neuropsychology of Meditation States

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451784 Year: Pages: 145 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-178-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-08-28 14:01:09
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Neurophysiological and psychological modifications induced by meditation practice have been consistently addressed by neuroscience. Training meditation practice induced plasticity (Barinaga, 2003; Knight, 2004), and as a consequence several benefit for mental and physical health (Davidson & McEwen, 2012), and cognitive performance. One goal of meditation is to achieve the light of consciousness observing with equanimity (the right distance) clouds of the mind wandering. This Frontiers Research Topic brings together studies from groups of authors whose research focus on neuropsychological systems involved in meditation demonstrating how meditation activates and can modify brain areas, cognitive mechanisms and well-being.

Early and late selection: Effects of load, dilution and salience

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889192557 Year: Pages: 143 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-255-7 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2015-11-16 15:44:59
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Our visual system is constantly bombarded by a variety of stimuli, of which only a small part is relevant to the task at hand. As a result, goal-directed behavior requires a high degree of selectivity at some point in the processing stream. The precise point at which selection takes place has been the focus of much debate. Early selection advocates argue that the locus of selection is at early stages of processing and that therefore, unattended stimuli are not fully processed. In contrast, late selection theorists argue that attention operates only after stimuli have been fully processed. Evidence supporting both sides has been accumulated over the years and the debate played a central role in the attention literature for decades. Perceptual load theory was put forward as an intermediate solution: the locus of selective attention depends on task requirements. When load is high, selection is early. When load is low, selection is late. This solution has been widely accepted and the early/late debate has been, for the most part, set aside. However, recently, perceptual load theory has been challenged on both theoretical and methodological grounds. It has been argued that it is not load, but rather perceptual dilution salience and other perceptual factors that determine the efficacy of attentional selection, which would call for a reevaluation of the current status of both perceptual load theory and its proposed alternatives, and more broadly, the early/late selection debate. The goal of this Research Topic is to provide an up-to-date overview of both empirical evidence and theoretical views on these key questions.

Perception of visual advertising in different media: from attention to distraction, persuasion, preference and memory

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194162 Year: Pages: 124 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-416-2 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Physiology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-10 11:59:06
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This Research Topic aims to showcase the state of the art in visual advertising research. Although visual processes are a central component of consumer behavior, they have been largely neglected in models explaining consumer perception of advertising. Rather than being the mere input into the cognitive or affective systems, the visual processes both voluntarily and involuntarily affect the amount and quality of information that is passed into further mental processing. Moreover, advertisements provide a well- designed, rich and stimulating environment to study visual processes in real-life conditions. Consumers encounter thousands of advertisement messages per day. Previous research on visual perception of advertising mostly considers print advertising. However, advertising messages increasingly appear in a variety of formats and in different media. Part of these messages are still conveyed through traditional media, such as newspapers, magazines, television, as well as outdoor and supermarket advertising. In addition, the amount and diversity of visual marketing stimuli is rapidly growing in terms of different advertising formats appearing in online and social media, smartphones and tablets. This challenges the marketing professionals and academics to better understand the impact of marketing on consumers. At the same time, the technical development of the research methods allows better opportunities to investigate advertising perception in different environments. Traditionally, papers investigating the psychological processes underlying advertising perception are published in journals widespread across different disciplines, such as marketing, applied psychology and human computer interaction journals. With this Research Topic, we aim to create a forum in which experts in different fields define the state of the art and future directions of the research on the visual aspects of marketing. We include reviews and original research papers involving both empirical and theoretical studies on visual perception of advertising across different media.

Oscillatory "Temporal Sampling" and Developmental Dyslexia: Towards an Over-Arching Theoretical Framework

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194391 Year: Pages: 155 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-439-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Neurology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Children with developmental dyslexia fail to acquire efficient reading and spelling skills despite adequate tuition and an absence of overt sensory and/ or neural deficits. Learning to read and spell requires linguistic skills, auditory skills and visual skills. Oscillatory 'temporal sampling' theory links the development of sensory and linguistic processes. The auditory system 'samples' acoustic information at different temporal rates, which for speech processing suggests that temporal information encoded by delta, theta and gamma oscillations is bound together in the final speech percept. Temporal sampling theory proposed a possible deficit in dyslexia in auditory sampling of the speech signal at syllable-relevant rates (< 10 Hz, delta and theta). This would hypothetically affect prosodic development prior to reading and syllable-based parsing, which would affect efficient linguistic skills and consequently reading development across languages. The visual system also samples information in the visuo-spatial field. In theory atypical visual oscillatory sampling could therefore be related to some of the visual features of developmental dyslexia. In this special issue, we bring together visual and auditory sensory processing studies around the general theme of oscillatory temporal sampling. Contributors were encouraged to discuss their findings within a temporal sampling perspective. The resulting studies cover a wide range of sensory processes, with findings both supporting and contradicting the theory. It is also important to note that studies covered a wide range of languages, and that the behavioural manifestations of a sampling impairment may differ both with language and over the course of development. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see such diverse findings considered within a single theoretical framework, even if at the same time, it is apparent that an over-arching theoretical framework encompassing both visual and auditory deficits in dyslexia is yet to be achieved.

Understanding Developmental Dyslexia: Linking Perceptual and Cognitive Deficits to Reading Processes

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889198641 Year: Pages: 309 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-864-1 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Understanding the mechanisms responsible for developmental dyslexia (DD) is a key challenge for researchers. A large literature, mostly concerned with learning to read in opaque orthographies, emphasizes phono-logical interpretations of the disturbance. Other approaches focused on the visual-per-ceptual aspects of orthographic coding. Recently, this perspective was supported by imaging data showing that individuals with DD have hypo-activation in occipito-temporal areas (a finding common to both transpar-ent and opaque orthographies). Nevertheless, it is difficult to infer causal relationships from activation data. Accommodating these findings within the cognitive architecture of reading processes is still an open issue. This is a general problem, which is present in much of the literature. For example, several studies investigating the perceptual and cognitive abilities that distinguish groups of children with and without DD failed to provide explicit links with the reading process. Thus, several areas of investigation (e.g., acoustic deficits or magnocellular deficiencies) have been plagued by replication failures. Furthermore, much research has neglected the possible contribution of comorbid symptoms. By contrast, it is now well established that developmental disorders present a large spectrum of homotopic and heterotopic co-morbidities that make causal interpretations problematic. This has led to the idea that the etiology of learning difficulties is multifactorial, thus challenging the traditional models of DD. Recent genetic studies provide information on the multiple risk factors that contribute to the genesis of the disturbance. Another critical issue in DD is that much of the research has been conducted in English-speaking individuals. However, English is a highly irregular orthography and doubts have been raised on the appropriateness of automatically extending interpretations based on English to other more regular orthographies. By contrast, important information can be gotten from systematic comparisons across languages. Thus, the distinction between regular and irregular orthographies is another potentially fruitful area of investigation. Overall, in spite of much research current interpretations seem unable to integrate all available findings. Some proposals focus on the cognitive description of the reading profile and explicitly ignore the distal causes of the disturbance. Others propose visual, acoustic or phonological mech-anisms but fail to link them to the pattern of reading impairment present in different children. The present Research Topic brings together studies based on different methodological approaches (i.e., behavioural studies examining cognitive and psycholinguistic factors, eye movement inves-tigations, biological markers, neuroimaging and genetic studies), involving dyslexic groups with and without comorbid symptoms, and in different orthographies (transparent and opaque) to identify the mechanisms underlying DD. The RT does not focus on a single model or theory of dyslexia but rather brings together different approaches and ideas which we feel are fruitful for a deeper understanding developmental dyslexia.

Brain Cholinergic Mechanisms

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889197149 Year: Pages: 127 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-714-9 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-04-07 11:22:02
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Much of our understanding of brain physiology has focused on what one might call, first order processes. These essentially include the primary synaptic mechanisms underlying excitation (mainly glutamate) and inhibition (mainly GABA). Our attention has focused on how the balance of excitation and inhibition regulates the timing, patterns, and extent of information flow across various circuits. A lot less is understood regarding second order processes that sculpt and modify these primary interactions. One such modulatory transmitter in the brain is acetylcholine (ACh). The importance of ACh in modulating various behaviors related to learning, memory, and attention has been recognized over the last four decades as has its involvement in various neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders. However, our understanding of the mechanistic bases for these actions is at its infancy, at best and much remains to be understood. The array of receptor subtypes for nicotinic and muscarinic receptors, their different locations, and complex signal transduction mechanisms remain a puzzle. Transmitter (ACh) release sites and their relationship to receptor loci are poorly understood. Overall, we lack a unifying framework for conceptualizing how disparate actions of the transmitter on receptors lead to circuit modulation and, eventually, influences on cognition. By its very nature, reports on cholinergic signaling are quite scattered, presented in journals across sub-disciplines and in the context of the systems they modulate. Hence, there is need for consolidation of these studies under a single cover that would allow one to compare and contrast the effects of this transmitter across systems and contexts. This special issue represents one such compilation. The issue addresses cholinergic modulation of defined circuits that lead to specific behaviors and consists of a judicious mixture of review articles and primary papers. The articles focus on three aspects of the system: 1) Cellular targets of cholinergic signaling. 2) Receptor mechanisms. 3) Endogenous transmitter distribution and action. While no common mechanism emerges that can explain cholinergic actions on brain functions, on can postulate that the transmitter system is dynamic, modulating the balance of excitation and inhibition in various circuits. This modulation sets up timed network oscillations and it is tempting to speculate that these oscillations form a template for better encoding of afferent inputs. One can broadly envision the role of the cholinergic system as facilitating processes that allow for more efficient acquisition of learning and engraving of memories. Thus, understanding the mechanisms underlying tonic and stimulus-dependent release of ACh and how it alters firing templates of neuronal networks would be the first step towards elucidating its role in learning and memory. This special topics edition provides clues to some of the actions of ACh. It is hoped that the articles allow the reader to extract common themes and potential mechanisms of cholinergic regulation that will lead to elucidation of general principles governing the actions of this important neuromodulator.

Pre-cueing Effects on Perception, Attention, and Cognitive Penetrability

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889454600 Year: Pages: 98 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-460-0 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2018-11-16 17:17:57
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Attention has often been likened to spotlights and filters—devices that illuminate or screen out some inputs in favor of others. This largely passive conception of attention has been gradually replaced by a more dynamic and far-reaching process. We know that attentional processes augment neural processing at all levels, and in some cases, augmenting processing within the sense organs themselves. For example, cueing object features (e.g., instructing a subject to look at a screen for a red object) modulates prestimulus activity in the visual cortex.Far from being limited to space or basic features, such attention cueing can function in surprisingly flexible and complex ways: people can be cued to attend to various objects, properties, and semantic categories and such attention appears to directly involve perceptual mechanisms.Studies of spatial attention cues presented before stimulus presentation show early modulation of perceptual processing. This phenomenon refers to the enhancement of the baseline activity of neurons at all levels in the visual cortex that are tuned to the cued location, which is called attentional modulation of spontaneous activity. The spontaneous firing rates of neurons are increased when attention is shifted toward the location of an upcoming stimulus before its presentation. Evidence also suggests that through pre-cueing of object features, feature-based attention modulates prestimulus activity in the visual cortex. The effects of pre-stimulus feature attention act either as a preparatory activity to enhance the stimulus-evoked potentials within feature sensitive areas, or they act so as to modulate stimulus-locked transients.Both effects of pre-cueing reflect a change in background neural activity. They are called anticipatory effects established prior to the presentation of the stimulus. Thus, they do not modulate processing during stimulus viewing but bias the process before it starts via the increase in the base line firing rates; they rig-up perceptual processing without affecting it on-line.Moreover, recent work on perceptual processing emphasizes the role of brain as a predictive tool. To perceive is to use what you know to explain away the sensory signal across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Perception aims to enable perceivers to interact with their environment successfully. Success relies on inferring or predicting correctly (or nearly so) the nature of the source of the incoming signal from the signal itself, an inference that may well be Bayesian.Current research sheds light on the role of attention in inferring the identities of the distal objects. Attention within late vision contributes to testing hypotheses concerning the putative distal causes of the sensory data encoded in the lower neuronal assemblies in the visual processing hierarchy. This testing assumes the form of matching predictions, made on the basis of an hypothesis, about the sensory information that the lower levels should encode assuming that the hypothesis is correct, with the current, actual sensory information encoded at the lower levels. To this aim, attention enhances the activity of neurons in the cortical regions that encode the stimuli that most likely contain information relevant to the testing of the hypothesis.In this Research Topic we aim to answer two related questions: First, what are the differences between this sort of pre-cueing effects and top-down cognitive influences on perception, and, in general, how do such attentional cuing effects relate to the broader literature on top-down influences on perception? Second, given that attention appears to change perceptual processing and that a form of attention, namely, cognitively-driven (or endogenous, or sustained) attention is a cognitive process, does attentional modulation through pre-cueing constitute cognitive penetrability of perception? Addressing these two questions will shed light on the theoretical underpinnings of cognitive penetrability and the nature of perceptual processing.

Spatial and non-spatial aspects of neglect

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195848 Year: Pages: 151 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-584-8 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-03-10 08:14:32
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Neglect is one of the most impressive neuropsychological disorder, for both its theoretical and clinical relevance. Besides being very common and disabling, it is highly informative for understanding normal cognitive functioning. The hallmark of neglect is the failure to attend to the contralesional hemispace. However, several studies have recently highlighted that additional deficits, not attributable to a spatial bias, are associated to the impaired contralesional hemispace processing. Moreover, manifestations of neglect tend to be particularly heterogeneous and often dissociate according to the spatial domain being investigated (e.g., body space, space within reaching, space beyond reaching, imaginal space). Heterogeneity in neglect patients also means that dissociations across different tasks in a single patient are more the rule than the exception. Evidence suggests that some of these dissociations can be readily explained by taking into account the amount of available attentional resources as a major determinant for the presence and the severity of neglect. There is no doubt that neglect patients provide a wealth of information about the functioning of systems subserving attentional orienting and spatial processing. Moreover, their performance also show that some non-spatial deficits are tightly coupled with more classic contralesional spatial deficits. It seems however still unclear to what extent these non-spatial deficits are an intrinsic characteristic of neglect or whether they are to be considered unspecific effects of the often massive brain lesions suffered by the patients. From the clinical point of view, neglect is a disorder that dramatically affects patients and their caregivers, because it severely limits the individuals’ autonomy and motor recovery after brain damage. For these reasons neglect is a disorder that is worth rehabilitating. To be effective, neglect rehabilitation should be based on the knowledge of what cognitive aspects are impaired and it should be focused on improving daily-life performance. For these reasons, it is also important to detect and quantify subtle forms of neglect.

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