Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention: A Developmental Perspective

Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention: A Developmental Perspective

Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention: A Developmental Perspective

Cognitive Neuroscience of Attention: A Developmental Perspective


This volume describes research and theory concerning the cognitive neuroscience of attention. Filling a key gap, it emphasizes developmental changes that occur in the brain-attention relationship in infants, children, and throughout the lifespan and reviews the literature on attention, development, and underlying neural systems in a comprehensive manner.

Special features include:

• a new model of the neural control of eye movements;

• a developmental perspective on the burgeoning literature on the cognitive neuroscience of attention;

• the integration of ideas, research, and theories across chapters within each section via summary and commentary essays; and

• a summary of the most recent work in the developmental cognitive neuroscience of attention by several of the leading researchers in this field.


The 1980s saw a new paradigm emerge in psychology -- the field of cognitive neuroscience. Cognitive neuroscience has the premise that it is necessary to understand brain and neural systems in the study of cognition. Starting with animal and neuropsychological experiments, the field has emerged to using neuroimaging techniques (PET, MRI, fMRI, EEG/ERP, MEG), controlled invasive animal and human work, and experimental psychology using models of neuroscience to guide its work. One aspect of this work has been a developmental approach to cognitive neuroscience -- "developmental cognitive neuroscience." The developmental approach asserts that changes in brain structure and function underlie much of cognitive development. Theories and experiments in cognitive development must rely on an understanding of neural development. Developmental research may provide a "model preparation" that aids work in cognitive neuroscience. The onset and development of specific neural-behavioral systems may tease apart the roles of separate systems in cognitive neuroscience models.

Attention has long been of interest to psychologists. William James saw it as an important field for psychological research, and it has always played a role in explanations of behavior. Cognitive psychologists, and cognitive developmental psychologists, have studied attention as a foundational area. It was only natural that in the very beginnings of cognitive neuroscience an understanding of the role of neural systems in attention was of interest. Early cognitive neuroscience studies of attention using primates and neuropsychological models have now been enhanced with neuroimaging . . .

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