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The Roots of Cognitive NeuroscienceBehavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology$
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Anjan Chatterjee and H. Branch Coslett

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195395549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395549.001.0001

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Arousal, Attention, and Perception

Arousal, Attention, and Perception

Chapter:
(p.131) Chapter 7 Arousal, Attention, and Perception
Source:
The Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience
Author(s):

Mark Mennemeier

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195395549.003.0007

This chapter proposes that symptoms of several different types of clinical disorders, including the neglect syndrome, may be attributed to altered psychophysical processes regulating the perception of stimulus intensity. Overestimating the intensity of a stimulus leads to excessive, and underestimating its intensity to inefficient, behavioral responses. Whereas this proposal was initially prompted by studies of patients with spatial neglect; it is not limited to neglect or to stimuli with inherent spatial properties. In fact, the same alteration might account for symptoms of two different clinical disorders in the same patient, such as the failure to recognize limb weakness and/or symptoms of dysphagia which are common comorbidities of neglect, and so, this alteration can be thought of as a trans-disorder process. It is proposed that altered psychophysical function in these patients may be due primarily to changes in cortical arousal following brain injury. Thus, this proposal may link two classical theories of normal perception: the Yerkes-Dodson Law relating arousal and sensory discrimination and the Psychophysical Power Law concerning perception of stimulus intensity. The first section of this chapter presents a general description of neglect and observations from patient studies that warrant the integration of psychophysical concepts and neglect theory. The second examines the relationship between sensory perception and arousal and describes a brain mechanism that integrates arousal and sensory information. The final section reviews evidence from patient studies bearing on the functional and anatomical architecture related to perception of stimulus intensity.

Keywords:   key words, spatial neglect, dysphagia, magnitude estimation, psychophysical power law, yerkes-dodson law, cortical arousal

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