The Question of Variation in Transmission in the Visual Pathway as a Result of Attention to an Auditory or a Visual Stimulus

Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 15)


Attention is a difficult word to define but, amongst other meanings, the term implies a “...withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others...” (James, 1890). This view relates specifically to human beings, but is commonly generalized to apply to a wide range of animals. The concept is one that, implicitly or explicitly, has been used frequently by neurobiologists interested in the neural mechanisms underlying attentive behaviour. One reason is that is poses specific problems. For example, does “ effectively (with some things)...” correspond to admitting to specific neuronal network signals elicited by the stimulus which is attended to; and does “...withdrawal from some things...” correspond to preventing signals elicited by stimuli that are not being attended to from gaining access to these networks? Work over the last decade suggests that, simple as these notions are, they are not implausible. Certain cells in the tectotegmental region of the rabbit brainstem respond briskly to a novel stimulus. If this stimulus is slowly repeated, the response declines.


Visual Cortex Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Optic Tract Visual Pathway Cortical Response 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Horn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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