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Attention is a cognitive process in which a person or animal concentrates on one thing in particular. To attend to something is to focus, heed or take notice of that thing irrespective of what else is going on in the surroundings.
The brain uses predictable temporal structure to anticipate and select relevant events in time. Nobre and van Ede introduce different types of this 'temporal expectation' and its neural underpinnings, and describe how temporal expectation interacts with other forms of expectation in guiding adaptive behaviour.
Humans can identify a target picture even when presented within a rapid stream of stimuli. Here the authors report that the neural activity initially supports parallel processing of multiple stimuli around the target in ventral visual areas followed later by isolated activation of reported images in parietal areas.
The authors propose a new framework for the thalamus in cognition. They review findings from rodents and primates, emphasizing thalamic control of functional cortical connectivity, its putative mechanisms and role in flexible construction of task-relevant cortical networks.
Predicting an individual's behavior is a formidable challenge for neuroimaging. A study now finds a strong link between an individual's ability to sustain attention and an extended, but specific, set of brain connections.