Accession Number : ADA206157


Title :   The Attention System of the Human Brain


Descriptive Note : Technical rept.


Corporate Author : WASHINGTON UNIV ST LOUIS MO DEPT OF NEUROLOGY


Personal Author(s) : Posner, Michael I. ; Petersen, Steven E.


Report Date : 28 FEB 1989


Pagination or Media Count : 31


Abstract : The concept of attention as central to human performance extends back to the start of experimental psychology, yet even a few years ago, it would not have been possible to outline in even a preliminary form a functional anatomy of the human attentional system. New developments in neuroscience have opened the study of higher cognition to physiological analysis, and have revealed a system of anatomical areas that appear to be basic to the selection of information for focal (conscious) processing. The importance of attention is its unique role in connecting the mental level of description of processes used in cognitive science with the anatomical level common in neuroscience. Sperry describes the central role that mental concepts play in understanding brain function. As is the case for sensory and motor systems of the brain, our knowledge of the anatomy of attention is incomplete. Nevertheless, we can now begin to identify some principles of organization that allow attention to function as a unified system for the control of mental processing. Although many of our points are still speculative and controversial, we believe they constitute a basis for more detailed studies of attention from a cognitive-neuroscience viewpoint. Perhaps even more important for furthering future studies, multiple methods of mental chronometry, brain lesions, electrophysiology, and several types of neuro-imaging have converged on common findings.


Descriptors :   *ATTENTION , *BRAIN , *PERFORMANCE(HUMAN) , HUMANS , PROCESSING , COGNITION , PHYSIOLOGY , ANATOMY , MOTORS , MENTAL ABILITY , SENSES(PHYSIOLOGY) , LESIONS , ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY , ORGANIZATIONS , EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY , CONTROL , FUNCTIONS


Subject Categories : PSYCHOLOGY
      ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE