Special Issue "On the Origins and Development of Attention Networks"
A special issue of Journal of Intelligence (ISSN 2079-3200).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2023 | Viewed by 2755
Interests: developmental cognitive neuroscience; attention; cognitive development; experimental psychology; EEG/ERP
Interests: human perception; attention; cognition & performance; cognitive neuroscience; applied cognitive psychology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Attention is a central cognitive function that is key to many other cognitive skills (e.g., perception, learning, reasoning, memory, consciousness, self-regulation). Given this central role in cognition, attention is involved in many aspects of life, such as academic achievement, socio-emotional adjustment (Rueda, Checa, and Rothbart, 2010), physical and emotional health, and wealth in the adult life (Moffit et al., 2011).
In recent decades, Posner and colleagues developed a network theory of attention greatly backed by the analysis of brain-damaged patients and neuroimaging studies in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience (Posner and Petersen, 1990; Petersen and Posner, 2012). This model describes attention as the combined function of brain systems supporting alerting (i.e., reaching and maintaining an optimal activation level), orienting (i.e., selecting a primary source of stimulation for conscious processing among the many reaching our senses), and executive control (i.e., tuning responses to goals and instructions, which often requires inhibiting automatic but non-appropriate courses of actions). Alerting is associated with the function of the locus coeruleus, the brainstem source of norepinephrine, in connection with areas of the frontal and parietal cortices that become activated by warning cues or during sustained attention tasks (Aston-Jones and Cohen, 2005). The orienting network involves differentiated ventral and dorsal parieto-frontal pathways, respectively, for bottom-up (stimulus-driven) and top-down (goal-directed) selection of the sensory input (Corbetta, Patel, and Shulman, 2008). Finally, executive attention is supported by a frontal cingulo-opercular circuit involved in detecting targets and maintaining the task set, in coordination with a fronto-parietal circuit involved in adjusting responses to targets (Dosenbach et al., 2008).
Compelling evidence suggest that intelligence largely relies on the attention-based capacity to regulate mental activity and behavior according to goals and intentions, allowing for the flexible adaptation to changing contextual conditions (see Rueda, 2018). For instance, individual differences in fluid intelligence are associated with a more proactive, strategic deployment of attention and more efficient network function in both children (Rico-Picó et al., 2021) and adults (Burgess and Braver, 2010; Hilger et al., 2017).
The brain network framework of the Posner’s attention model confers a number of advantages, besides the understanding of neural mechanisms underpinning attention functions. Among other interesting questions such as the analysis of psychopathology and the impact of interventions to palliate attentional difficulties, the attention network theory provides a model for studying changes in the functioning and architecture of the circuitry that occur in connection with individual and group differences in efficacy of attention, as those occurring with age or during evolution. An increasing number of studies have examined changes in attentive behavior and underlying neural mechanisms that happen during childhood development (Rueda, 2014). This is achieved by studies comparing individuals of different ages (cross-sectional studies) or following the development of a particular cohort in time (longitudinal studies). Analyzing changes during phylogeny involves comparisons across species sharing more or less recent common ancestors (e.g., Patel et al., 2015; Fjell et al., 2015), or analyzing the possible brain behavior changes inferred by the study of fossils and cultural material of extinct species (i.e., cognitive archeology; e.g., Bruner et al., 2018).
The current Special Issue aims at expanding the understanding of both the development and evolution of attention networks. Commonalities between changing processes in ontogeny and phylogeny have been long observed, and recent evidence also suggests the existence of similarities between maturational mechanisms of change during evolution and development (Hill et al., 2010; Fjell et al., 2015). Therefore, an increased comprehension of both processes will nourish each other and contribute to our understanding of the origins and emergence of human intelligent behavior.
Consequently, for the current Special Issue, we are interested in receiving the following types of papers:
- Papers reviewing existing and/or presenting new research expanding on the development of attention functions of alerting, selection, and control along the lifespan (ontogenetic development);
- Papers reviewing existing and/or presenting new research expanding on the understanding of changes in brain and/or behavior processes related to attention occurring during evolution;
- Papers presenting grounded theories of evolution and/or development of attention networks;
- Papers that connect evolution and/or development intelligence with the evolution and/or development attention networks.
Prof. Dr. M. Rosario Rueda
Prof. Dr. Raymond M. Klein
Manuscript Submission Information
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Intelligence is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.
Title: Cognitive archaeology and the attentional system: an evolutionary mismatch for the genus Homo
Authors: Emiliano Bruner
Affiliation: Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana
Abstract: Brain evolution is a key topic in evolutionary anthropology. The fossil record usually allows limited anatomical and behavioral inferences, in this sense. Nonetheless, such information is also valuable, because it represents the only direct evidence of the evolutionary process. Recently, archaeology and psychology have been integrated in the field of cognitive archaeology, which is aimed at interpreting current cognitive models according to the evidence we have on extinct human species. In this article, such evidence is reviewed as to consider whether and to what extent the archaeological record can supply information on changes of the attentional system in different taxa of the human genus. In particular, behavioral correlates associated with working memory are employed to consider recent changes in our species, Homo sapiens.
Title: Attention processes as predictors of school readiness across differing South African low-income settings
Authors: Cook, C.; Scerif, G.; Howard, S.; Mills., A.; Kahn, K.; Norris, S.; Draper, C.
Affiliation: University of Witwatersrand; University of Oxford; University of Wollongong
Abstract: Attention processes are positioned as key in early childhood, as they are concurrent and longitudinal predictors of later life outcomes such as educational outcomes. In addition, while associations between executive attention indices and school-readiness are relatively well established, the unique contribution of spatial selective attention is less understood. Furthermore, these findings largely derive from high-income countries and from relatively homogenous contexts. By leveraging data collected from low-income South African pre-schoolers across differing settings, we show that both spatial selective attention processes and setting differences contribute to individual differences in school readiness, over and above executive indices. Our findings underscore the need to understand multiple attentional processes as contributors to school readiness across diverse populations.
Title: The relationship between visual-spatial attention development and the development of number concepts
Authors: Mills, A.; Ansari, D.; Dove, E.; Dowker, A.; Spreckelsen, M.; Merkley, R.; Murphy, V.; Scerif, G.
Affiliation: University of Oxford; University of Western Ontario; Carleton University
Abstract: Attention is guided by multiple sources, including perceptual features and higher-order categorical distinctions between target and distractors (Wolfe, 1994). The aim of the present study is to investigate feature- and category-based attentional guidance directing visual search in young children, and its relationship with the development of number concepts. Typically, at around 3.5 – 4 years of age, children become cardinal-principle-knowers (CP-knowers), which means that the process of learning the semantic meaning of the numerals is no longer one-by-one, but driven by conceptual knowledge. Using a multi-target cancellation task, we show that CP-knowers and non-CP-knowers differ significantly in search performance. We argue that these differences arise because of conceptual change (Barner & Baron, 2016). These findings provide new insights to not only visual-spatial attention development but also conceptual development.
Title: The ANTI-Vea-UGR platform: A free online resource to measure attentional (Alertness, Orienting and Cognitive control) and Arousal/Executive Vigilance performance.
Authors: Tao Coll-Martín; Rafael Román-Caballero; Rocío Martínez-Caballero; Paulina del Carmen Martín-Sánchez; Laura Trujillo, M. Concepción Castellanos; Fernando Luna; Klara Hemmerich; Greta Manini; Julieta Aguirre; Fabiano Botta; Elisa Martín-Arévalo; Juan Lupiáñez
Abstract: The Attentional Networks Test for Interactions and Vigilance – executive and arousal components (ANTI-Vea) is suitable to assess the independence and interactions of the classic attentional functions (i.e., phasic alertness, orienting, and executive control) while measuring two dissociated components of vigilance with high reliability: (a) executive vigilance, measured as hits to infrequent critical signals; and (b) the arousal vigilance, observed as a mean and variability of reaction time. We present the free and publicly accessible resource (ANTI-Vea-UGR; https://anti-vea.ugr.es/) developed to easily run, collect, and analyze data with the ANTI-Vea (or some subtasks measuring attention or vigilance, embedded in the ANTI-Vea). Available in seven different languages, the task allows adaptation of stimuli timing and procedure to facilitate data collection from different populations (e.g., clinical patients). Collected data can be freely downloaded and easily analyzed with the scripts and tools available. We discuss previous evidence supporting that attention and vigilance components can be assessed online and outside the lab as well as in the typical lab conditions. We expect this tutorial can help researchers interested in measuring attention and vigilance with a tool that is useful to collect data from large sample sizes and easy to use in applied contexts.