Attention, Neurochemically Speaking

Samuel R. Peretz peretz at
Thu Apr 11 16:28:48 EST 1991

In article <23933 at>, tv at (T. VanderHeyden) writes:
|>Attention in humans is quite a varied thing. Children notice different 
|>things than adults do. People taking acid might fall in love with their 
|>bathroom toilets and spend the whole trip in the bathroom, while a 
|>seven-foot-tall tattooed skinhead in a knit minidress might escape notice 
|>in some sections of New York City.
|>What's the chemical action going on here (LSD notwithstanding)? Is there a 
|>chemical released by some part of the brain that, when present, causes one 
|>to pay more attention to details and, when absent, causes one to ignore 
|>certain details? What's been written on this subject?
|>Todd VanderHeyden
One hypothesis is that attention is related to synchronized oscillations
in certain brain regions.  I can't remember the exact reference, but there
was a paper by Francis Crick a couple years back regarding this
"searchlight" hypothesis of attention.  I think the brain region discussed
in that particular paper was the hypothalamus.


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