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The study of attention has largely been about how to select among the various sensory events but also involves the selection among conflicting actions. Prior to the late 1980s, locating bottlenecks between sensory input and response dominated these studies, a different view was that attentional limits involved the importance of maintaining behavioral coherence rather than resulting from a bottleneck. In both cases ideas of resource limits taken over from economics were important. Early evidence relating to the anatomy of attention came from neurological investigations of lesioned patients, but the major impetus for the anatomical approach came from neuroimaging studies that provided evidence of brain networks related to orienting to sensory events and control of response tendencies. The presence of a functional anatomy has supported studies of the development of attention networks and the role of neuromodulators and genetic polymorphisms in their construction. Together these developments have enhanced our understanding of attention and paved the way for significant applications to education, pathology and prevention of mental illness. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Michael I Posner. Imaging attention networks. NeuroImage. 2012 Jun;61(2):450-6

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PMID: 22227132

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