Attention Networks

  • Daniel S. Barron
  • Francisco Xavier Castellanos
Living reference work entry


This chapter describes how attention systems are studied and modeled through a combination of lesion-deficit, behavioral, and brain imaging data. We briefly introduce the logic of lesion-deficit, behavioral, and brain imaging approaches and how they are used in examining brain function. This logic has led to the identification of three network models within the larger attention system which are hypothesized to be responsible for alerting, orienting, and executive control. These network models have served as the basis for fruitful study of brain development and disorders of brain function for the past quarter century.


Alerting network Arousal system Attention systems Alerting network Behavioral data Brain imaging Clinical applications Executive network Lesion-deficit data Orienting network Behavioral tasks Cued detection task Dorsal attention network Executive network Feedback control Flanker task Stroop task Sustained attention Transient blocking Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) Human Connectome Project Orienting network Dorsal frontoparietal network Goal-directed/top-down orienting Stimulus-driven/bottom-up orienting Ventral frontoparietal network Positron emission tomography (PET) Reaction time (RT) Response tasks Subtraction method Ventral attention network Visual system 



This chapter synthesizes the work and writing of many researchers. In particular, we are deeply indebted to the writing of Michael Posner, Steve Petersen, Maurizio Corbetta, and Gordon Schulman whose lovely prose we have tried to mimic. We appreciate Kristin Budde's editorial assistance. Preparation of this manuscript was funded in part by grants from the Yale University School of Medicine Short-Term Research Funding and from the Gilead Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel S. Barron
    • 1
  • Francisco Xavier Castellanos
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Yale University School of MedicineYale University Department of PsychiatryNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryThe Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric ResearchOrangeburgUSA

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