Mechanism behind brains ability to pay attention unveiled
Researchers from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California Davis have decoded the cellular mechanisms behind human brain’s ability to pay attention to relevant information while ignoring distractions. Despite much study of attention in the brain, the cellular mechanisms responsible for the effects of attention have remained a mystery until now.
What has been revealed by the study by Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California Davis?
Researchers studied communications between synaptically connected neurons under conditions where subjects shifted their attention toward or away from visual stimuli that activated the recorded neurons, sharpen the precision of these signals, and selectively boost the transmission of attention-grabbing information while reducing the level of noisy or attention-disrupting information.
In this study, scientist found a new mechanism by which attention shapes perception by selectively altering presynaptic weights to highlight sensory features among all the noisy sensory input.
How would the findings by by Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California Davis help?
Besides expanding our understanding of brain, this study would help people with attention deficits resulting from brain injury or disease, possibly leading to improved screening and new treatments.