Cognitive Neuroscience Lecture 6 The single most characteristic feature of attention is its selectivity. It selects one item for perception to the exclusion of others, or selects one motor act to the exclusion of others. This selectivity has been explained in neural terms as being necessary to conserve certain limited “resources”. Such resources could be critical neuronal populations in the cortex that would be overwhelmed with processing tasks if attentional mechanisms did not allocate them to one specific task at a time. Recast in terms of cognit activation, the explanation might be that the activation of multiple cognits at the same could cause massive interference by activation of associated cognits. Attention would then be necessary to select only a limited number of cognits for activation at a time. As Fuster states, “The role of attention is to select one of those networks at a time and to keep it active for as long as it serves a cognitive function or the attainment of a behavioral goal.”
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