New work at the University of California, Davis, shows for the first time how visual attention affects activity in specific brain cells. The paper, published June 26 in the journal Nature, shows that attention increases the efficiency of signaling into the brain's cerebral cortex and boosts the ratio of signal over noise.
It's the first time neuroscientists have been able to look at the behavior of synaptic circuits at such a fine-grained level of resolution while measuring the effects of attention, said Professor Ron Mangun, dean of social sciences at UC Davis and a researcher at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain.
Our brains recreate an internal map of the world we see through our eyes, mapping our visual field onto specific brain cells. Humans and our primate relatives have the ability to pay attention to objects in the visual scene without looking at them directly, Mangun said... Read More