Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pay attention: How we focus and concentrate

Date:
May 23, 2013
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
Scientists have shed new light on how the brain tunes in to relevant information.

Scientists at Newcastle University have shed new light on how the brain tunes in to relevant information.

Publishing in Neuron, the team reveal the interplay of brain chemicals which help us pay attention in work funded by the Wellcome Trust and BBSRC.

By changing the way neurons respond to external stimuli we improve our perceptual abilities. While these changes can affect the strength of a neuronal response, they can also affect the fidelity of that response.

Lead author Alex Thiele, Professor of Visual Neuroscience explains: "When you communicate with others, you can make yourself better heard by speaking louder or by speaking more clearly. Neurons appear to do similar things when we're paying attention. They send their message more intensely to their partners, which compares to speaking louder. But more importantly, they also increase the fidelity of their message, which compares to speaking more clearly.

"Our earlier work has shown that attention is able to affect the intensity of responses -- in effect the loudness -- by means of the brain chemical acetylcholine. Now we have shown that the fidelity of the response is altered by a different brain chemical system."

In the paper, the team reveal that the quality of the response is altered by means of glutamate coupling to NMDA receptors (a molecular device that mediates communication between neurons). Carried out in a primate model, these studies for the first time isolate different attention mechanisms at the receptor level.

The research builds on the team's previous studies and has potentially significant implications not only for our understanding of how our brains work but also give an insight into conditions such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and attention deficit disorder, and may aid in the development of treatments for them.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Newcastle University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jose L. Herrero, Marc A. Gieselmann, Mehdi Sanayei, Alexander Thiele. Attention-Induced Variance and Noise Correlation Reduction in Macaque V1 Is Mediated by NMDA Receptors. Neuron, 2013; 78 (4): 729 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.03.029

Cite This Page:

Newcastle University. "Pay attention: How we focus and concentrate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523093319.htm>.
Newcastle University. (2013, May 23). Pay attention: How we focus and concentrate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523093319.htm
Newcastle University. "Pay attention: How we focus and concentrate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523093319.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) — An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins