Modulation Of Attention By Ascending Projections – Dr, Tomás Ossandón, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

June 4, 2021 @ 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Zoom meeting
Matthew Attwaters

Traditionally, the sophisticated computations that underlie cognition (enabling you to, e.g., read this abstract) have been regarded as implemented solely in neuronal circuits of the mosaic regions that make up the cerebral cortex. However, a surge of recent studies has shown that evolutionary older players in the central nervous system, the ascending modulatory systems of the brainstem, are just as important for cognition. These systems can sculpt cortical network interactions, and thereby cognitive computation, in surprisingly specific ways that shape the contents of mental states. Because the activity of these brainstem systems fluctuates continuously even in the awake state, so does our attentional focus. If the activity of these brainstem systems is permanently disturbed, so will be the cortical network interactions underlying cognition. This may be the core problem in ADHD, a condition in which the capacity to focus and maintain attention is permanently compromised. In this talk, we will discuss the role of the ascending arousal system on large-scale network dynamics by combining pupillometry, EEG, functional MRI, and graph theory analysis.

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