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CNS Seminar

Monday, June 6, 2016
4:00pm to 5:00pm
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Beckman Behavioral Biology B180
Network dynamics of control over enhancement versus suppression in sustained attention
Agatha Lenartowicz, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA,

Attention control is the ability to control the focus of attention, to enhance signals of interest and suppress distractions. The neural basis of this ability is modulation of activity levels in sensory cortex to target and distractor sensory inputs. Presumed sources of modulation lie in associative cortex, namely prefrontal and parietal structures. In this talk I expand on this model by examining separate neural trajectories of control for enhancement of target signals versus suppression of distracting signals, within the context of ongoing, sustained attention. Using a combination of functional MRI and EEG data I describe two novel findings that are not accounted for by existing models. (1) The neural pathways of enhancement and suppression in sustained attention are separable, with a prevalent source of suppression arising from supplementary motor cortex rather than prefrontal or parietal cortex. (2) Attention control involves reconfiguration of other, broadly distributed networks (akin to resting state networks), extrinsic to the attention control model, whose precise role in enhancement and suppression is undefined. We conclude that a considerable source of attention control, and thus of modulation of sensory activity, may lie in network interactions exclusive of bias signals arising from prefrontal and associative structures.