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Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention
From brain mechanisms to individual differences in efficiency

Dept. of Experimental Psychology, Center for Research on Mind, Brain, and Behavior (CIMCYC), Universidad de Granada, Spain

Topical Section: Neural Mechanisms of Attention

Aspects of activation, selection and control have been related to attention from early to more recent theoretical models. In this review paper, we present information about different levels of analysis of all three aspects involved in this central function of cognition. Studies in the field of Cognitive Psychology have provided information about the cognitive operations associated with each function as well as experimental tasks to measure them. Using these methods, neuroimaging studies have revealed the circuitry and chronometry of brain reactions while individuals perform marker tasks, aside from neuromodulators involved in each network. Information on the anatomy and circuitry of attention is key to research approaching the neural mechanisms involved in individual differences in efficiency, and how they relate to maturational and genetic/environmental influences. Also, understanding the neural mechanisms related to attention networks provides a way to examine the impact of interventions designed to improve attention skills. In the last section of the paper, we emphasize the importance of the neuroscience approach in order to connect cognition and behavior to underpinning biological and molecular mechanisms providing a framework that is informative to many central aspects of cognition, such as development, psychopathology and intervention.
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