Modern Attention, Ancient Circuits

Photo of Dr. Krauzlis

Past Event Date: 


Richard Krauzlis, Ph.D., National Institutes of Health/Host: Preeti Verghese

Meeting room: 

Room 204 - Main Conference Room

Event Type: 


Selective attention is widely attributed to a network of areas in the cerebral neocortex, with frontal and parietal cortex regulating limited resources available in the sensory areas of cortex.  

Older subcortical structures like the superior colliculus also play a role in selective attention, but the relative importance of cortical and subcortical regions and how these regions interact remain open questions.  

In this talk, I will review evidence that the superior colliculus plays a crucial role in the control of selective attention, and that surprisingly, the mechanisms used by the superior colliculus appear to be independent of the well-known mechanisms in visual cortex. More recent results from my lab provide evidence that the basal ganglia, another set of old subcortical structures present in all vertebrate brains, also play a central role in selective attention. These findings support the idea that the brain mechanisms for selective attention are based on an ancient subcortical circuit motif that may have initially evolved to control selective orienting.