Selective Attention, Memory, and the Locus Coeruleus
The role of locus coeruleus (LC) in attention, arousal and behavioral plasticity has attracted the interest of many investigators studying LC function at different levels— from cellular to behavioral. These studies have used many different techniques including electrical stimulation and intracellular recording, neurotoxic lesions and behavioral analysis, pharmacological intervention and neurochemical assays. The common interest is in how the noradrenergic projections to the forebrain are involved in cognitive function, particularly regulation of attention and arousal, but also in developmental plasticity, learning and memory. Those who have used a behavioral approach to understanding LC function have relied heavily on neuroanatomical and electrophysiological data to provide their hypotheses (see below; also Robbins and Everitt; Velley et al., this volume). At the same time, those who have studied the effects of noradrenaline (NE) on cellular activity and reactivity, or the effects of exogenous stimulation on the activity of LC neurons, have proposed an important role for the LC system in the regulation of attention, arousal, and behavioral plasticity (Aston-Jones; Segal; Kasamatsu, this volume).
KeywordsSelective Attention Locus Coeruleus Memory Retrieval Behavioral Plasticity Locus Coeruleus Neuron
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