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Neurochemistry of Visual Attention

, Christoph Mulert
Published: 5 May 2021
Frontiers in Neuroscience , Volume 15; doi:10.3389/fnins.2021.643597

Abstract: Visual attention is the cognitive process that mediates the selection of important information from the environment. This selection is usually controlled by bottom-up and top-down attentional biasing. Since for most humans vision is the dominant sense, visual attention is critically important for higher-order cognitive functions and related deficits are a core symptom of many neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders. Here, we summarize the importance and relative contributions of different neuromodulators and neurotransmitters to the neural mechanisms of top-down and bottom-up attentional control. We will not only review the roles of widely accepted neuromodulators, such as acetylcholine, dopamine and noradrenaline, but also the contributions of other modulatory substances. In doing so, we hope to shed some light on the current understanding of the role of neurochemistry in shaping neuron properties contributing to the allocation of attention in the visual field.
Keywords: Neuromodulator / attentional selection / Psychopharmacology / Neurochemistry / visual attention

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