A unified attentional bottleneck in the human brain

Tombu, Michael N., Asplund, Christopher L., Dux, Paul E., Godwin, Douglass, Martin, Justin W. and Marois, René (2011) A unified attentional bottleneck in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 33: 13426-13431. doi:10.1073/pnas.1103583108

Author Tombu, Michael N.
Asplund, Christopher L.
Dux, Paul E.
Godwin, Douglass
Martin, Justin W.
Marois, René
Title A unified attentional bottleneck in the human brain
Journal name Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0027-8424
Publication date 2011-08-16
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1103583108
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 108
Issue 33
Start page 13426
End page 13431
Total pages 6
Editor Edward E. Smith
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher National Academy of Sciences
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Human information processing is characterized by bottlenecks that constrain throughput. These bottlenecks limit both what we can perceive and what we can act on in multitask settings. Although perceptual and response limitations are often attributed to independent information processing bottlenecks, it has recently been suggested that a common attentional limitation may be responsible for both. To date, however, evidence supporting the existence of such a “unified” bottleneck has been mixed. Here, we tested the unified bottleneck hypothesis using time-resolved fMRI. Experiment 1 isolated brain regions involved in the response selection bottleneck that limits speeded dual-task performance. These same brain regions were not only engaged by a perceptual encoding task in Experiment 2, their activity also tracked delays to a speeded decision-making task caused by concurrent perceptual encoding (Experiment 3). We conclude that a unified attentional bottleneck, including the inferior frontal junction, superior medial frontal cortex, and bilateral insula, temporally limits operations as diverse as perceptual encoding and decision-making.
Keyword Attention
Attentional blink
Psychological refractory period
Dual-task interference
Prefrontal cortex
Response selection
Human electrophysiology
Functional MRI
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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