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Science. 2011 Jun 24;332(6037):1568-71. doi: 10.1126/science.1199892. Epub 2011 May 26.

Selective attention from voluntary control of neurons in prefrontal cortex.

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1
Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

Abstract

Animals can learn to voluntarily control neuronal activity within various brain areas through operant conditioning, but the relevance of that control to cognitive functions is unknown. We found that rhesus monkeys can control the activity of neurons within the frontal eye field (FEF), an oculomotor area of the prefrontal cortex. However, operantly driven FEF activity was primarily associated with selective visual attention, and not oculomotor preparation. Attentional effects were untrained and were observed both behaviorally and neurophysiologically. Furthermore, selective attention correlated with voluntary, but not spontaneous, fluctuations in FEF activity. Our results reveal a specific association of voluntarily driven neuronal activity with "top-down" attention and suggest a basis for the use of neurofeedback training to treat disorders of attention.

PMID:
21617042
PMCID:
PMC3371378
DOI:
10.1126/science.1199892
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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