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Trends Cogn Sci. 2004 May;8(5):223-30.

The brain circuitry of attention.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK. <>


From an operational perspective, attention is a matter of organizing multiple brain centres to act in concert on the task at hand. Taking focal visual attention as an example, recent anatomical findings suggest that the pulvinar might act as a remote hub for coordinating spatial activity within multiple cortical visual maps. The pulvinar can, in turn, be influenced by signals originating in the frontal and parietal eye fields, using common visuomotor neural circuitry, with the superior colliculus acting as an important link. By identifying a complex, real neural architecture ('RNA') model for attention, it is possible to integrate several different modes of operation - such as parallel or serial, bottom-up or top-down, preattentive or attentive - that characterize conflicting cognitive models of attention in visual search paradigms.

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