1st Edition

The Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention
Current Debates and Research

ISBN 9780367501242
Published October 27, 2020 by Routledge
292 Pages

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Attention refers to our ability to selectively process the vast array of stimuli impinging upon our senses at every moment. The mental processes of attention are critical for allowing us to maintain focus and complete tasks efficiently, even within distracting environments. The brain mechanisms of attention have been studied for decades, yet much still remains unknown, and consensus on core issues remains elusive. A unique aspect of this book are chapters that highlight recent debates on critical issues in attention research. Each of these chapters includes a comprehensive discussion paper that is followed by peer commentaries and an authors' responses. These debates include whether attention can modulate activity of even the earliest cortical processing region and whether changes in white matter are critical for plasticity-related effects of attention training. In addition to these discussion chapters, the book presents cutting-edge research on some of the newest theories of attentional control and selective attention, including the influence of practice, epigenetics, reward, social interaction, and distractor suppression. These studies employ advanced cognitive neuroscience methods such as neurostimulation, functional neuroimaging pattern analysis, and the evaluation of oscillatory brain activity to shed light on the brain mechanisms underlying attention.

The chapters in this book were originally published as articles in various issues of the journal Cognitive Neuroscience.

Table of Contents


Joseph B. Hopfinger & Scott D. Slotnick

Chapter 1. The Earliest Effects of Attention on Cortical Processing: Debate

Does spatial attention modulate the earliest component of the visual evoked potential?

Hannah M. Baumgartner, Christian J. Graulty, Steven A. Hillyard & Michael A. Pitts

A sensory evoked response or precise anticipatory modulation? Mechanisms underlying the reported C1 modulation by spatial attention

Yulong Ding

A controversy of whether the early C1 ERP is affected by attention

Stanley Klein

Modulation of the earliest visual evoked potential by attention: now you see it, now you don’t

Gilles Pourtois, Valentina Rossi, Patrik Vuilleumier & Karsten Rauss

Task dependence of early attention modulation: the plot thickens

Simon P. Kelly & Kieran S. Mohr

How early does attention modulate visual information processing? The importance of experimental protocol and data analysis approach

Heleen A. Slagter, Josipa Alilovic & Simon Van Gaal

Open and cautious towards the "minority view"

Shimin Fu

Does spatial attention modulate the C1 component? The jury continues to deliberate

Hannah M. Baumgartner, Christian J. Graulty, Steven A. Hillyard & Michael A. Pitts

Chapter 2. Parameters That Affect Early Attention Modulation: Debate

The experimental parameters that affect attentional modulation of the ERP C1 component

Scott D. Slotnick

‘Tricks’ for revealing potential attentional modulations on the C1 component

Shimin Fu

Identifying and removing overlaps from adjacent components is important in investigations of C1 modulation by attention

Zhe Qu & Yulong Ding

Endogenous attention to object features modulates the ERP C1 component

Alberto Zani & Alice Mado Proverbio

Still wanted: a reproducible demonstration of a genuine C1 attention effect

Michael A. Pitts & Steven A. Hillyard

Insignificant C1 effects cannot be called ‘marginally significant’

Francesco Di Russo

The spatiotemporal characteristics of the C1 component and its modulation by attention

Kieran S. Mohr & Simon P. Kelly

Several studies with significant C1 attention effects survive critical analysis

Scott D. Slotnick

Chapter 3. Relation of White Matter Changes to Practice-Induced Improvements in Attention: Debate

How changes in white matter might underlie improved reaction time due to practice

Pascale Voelker, Denise Piscopo, Aldis P. Weible, Gary Lynch, Mary K. Rothbart, Michael I. Posner & Cristopher M. Niell

Cognitive enhancement: it’s about time

Heleen A. Slagter, Marlies E. Vissers, Lotte J. Talsma & K. Richard Ridderinkhof

Promises and pitfalls of relating alteration of white matter pathways causing improvement in cognitive performance

Dipanjan Roy & V. S. Chandrasekhar Pammi

Cellular mechanisms of adaptive myelination: bridging the gap between animal studies and human cognition

Helena Bujalka & Ben Emery

Relation of higher-frequency oscillatory activity to white matter changes and to core mechanisms of attention

Joseph B. Hopfinger

Is reaction time an index of white matter connectivity during training?

Shenbing Kuang

Possible neural oscillatory mechanisms underlying learning

Olga Kepinska & Niels O. Schiller

Complex models of white and gray matter integration following training

J. Michael Williams

Training and transfer in aging – is pathway overlap really necessary?

Daniela Aisenberg, Zahira Ziva Cohen & Omer Linkovski

The relationship between functional magnetic resonance imaging activation, diffusion tensor imaging, and training effects

Danielle Farrar & Andrew E. Budson

Reaction time as a stochastic process implemented by functional brain networks

Constantinos I. Siettos & Nikolaos Smyrnis

White matter and reaction time: Reply to commentaries

Pascale Voelker, Denise Piscopo, Aldis P. Weible, Gary Lynch, Mary K. Rothbart, Michael I. Posner & Cristopher M. Niell

Chapter 4. Oscillatory Activity and Spatial Attention

Differential effects of 10-Hz and 40-Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) on endogenous versus exogenous attention

Joseph B. Hopfinger, Jonathan Parsons & Flavio Fröhlich

Cross-frequency coupling of alpha oscillatory power to the entrainment rhythm of a spatially attended input stream

Tommy J. Wilson & John J. Foxe

Chapter 5. Value-Based Attentional Priority

Neural correlates of attentional capture by stimuli previously associated with social reward

Andy J. Kim & Brian A. Anderson

Recording brain activity can function as an implied social presence and alter neural connectivity

Benjamin O. Turner, Alan Kingstone, Evan F. Risko, Tyler Santander, Jeanne Li & Michael B. Miller

Reward-based plasticity of spatial priority maps: Exploiting inter-subject variability to probe the underlying neurobiology

Chiara Della Libera, Riccardo Calletti, Jana Eštočinová, Leonardo Chelazzi & Elisa Santandrea

Early retinotopic responses to violations of emotion–location associations may depend on conscious awareness

Laura Herde, Valentina Rossi, Gilles Pourtois & Karsten Rauss

Chapter 6. Feature-Based Attentional Selection and Attentional Inhibition

Continuous and discrete representations of feature-based attentional priority in human frontoparietal network

Mengyuan Gong & Taosheng Liu

Role of the dorsal attention network in distracter suppression based on features

Armien Lanssens, Gloria Pizzamiglio, Dante Mantini & Celine R. Gillebert

Gating by inhibition during top-down control of willed attention

Jesse J. Bengson, Yuelu Liu, Natalia Khodayari & George R. Mangun

Chapter 7. The Effects of Practice and Selection History on Attention

From alternation to repetition: Spatial attention biases contribute to sequential effects in a choice reaction-time task

Jessica J. Green, Thomas M. Spalek & John J. McDonald

Methylation polymorphism influences practice effects in children during attention tasks

Pascale Voelker, Brad E. Sheese, Mary K. Rothbart & Michael I. Posner

Chapter 8. Executive Function and Working Memory

Recovery of information from latent memory stores decreases over time

Asal Nouri & Edward F. Ester

Task goals modulate the activation of part-based versus object-based representations in visual working memory

Cody W. McCants, Tobias Katus & Martin Eimer

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Joseph B. Hopfinger is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Cognitive Neuroscience. He studies the neural mechanisms of attention and plasticity, using event-related potentials, functional MRI, and transcranial alternating current stimulation.

Scott D. Slotnick is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Boston College, USA, Co-Editor-in-Chief of Cognitive Neuroscience, and author of Controversies in Cognitive Neuroscience and Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory. He employs functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, and transcranial magnetic stimulation to investigate brain mechanisms underlying memory and attention.