Attention and the frontal cortex as examined by simultaneous temporal processing.
The brain mechanisms involved in attention and memory were examined by testing rats in temporal discriminations designed to emphasize these cognitive processes. Normal rats were able to time each of two stimuli whether they were presented alone or together. Rats with lesions of the frontal cortex (FC) or nucleus basalis magnocellularis (NBM) were able to time each stimulus when it was presented alone, but not when it was presented together with another stimulus. Rather, these rats timed only the intruding stimulus and ignored the other, demonstrating a failure of divided attention. Rats with lesions of the fimbria-fornix (FF) or medial septal area (MSA) performed the divided attention task normally, but failed to remember the duration of a stimulus that had been terminated temporarily earlier in the trial, demonstrating a failure of working memory. These results provide another informative dissociation between the functions of the frontal and hippocampal systems, emphasizing frontal involvement in attention, and hippocampal involvement in working memory.
Olton, DS; Wenk, GL; Church, RM; Meck, WH
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