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The Prefrontal CortexExecutive and Cognitive Functions$
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A. C. Roberts, T. W. Robbins, and L. Weiskrantz

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524410

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524410.001.0001

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Attention to action

Attention to action

(p.131) 10 Attention to action
The Prefrontal Cortex

R. E. Passingham

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the changes that occur in the brain when a motor task is learned and then practiced until it has become automatic. This chapter describes two studies conducted to understand this mechanism, firstly by Jenkins et al and secondly by Jueptner et al using a more sensitive scanner. They tested the subjects using a dual task paradigm by checking whether the task can be performed with minimal interference at the same time as another task. It proposes that the more routine a task, the less the prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex will be activated. The chapter also explores the interference that occurs when subjects must attend to the selection of more than one action at the same time, and conclusively states that that attentional selection occurs ‘late’ rather than ‘early’.

Keywords:   brain, motor task, Jenkins, Jueptner, dual task, interference, cortex, attentional selection

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