Sunday, July 13, 2014

Do not disturb! How the brain filters out distractions

Do not disturb! How the brain filters out distractions

You know the feeling? You are trying to dial a phone number from memory... you have to concentrate.... then someone starts shouting out other numbers nearby. In a situation like that, your brain must ignore the distraction as best it can so as not to lose vital information from its working memory. A new paper published in Neuron by a team of neurobiologists led by Professor Andreas Nieder at the University of Tübingen gives insight into just how the brain manages this problem.
The researchers put rhesus monkeys in a similar situation. The monkeys had to remember the number of dots in an image and reproduce the knowledge a moment later. While they were taking in the information, a distraction was introduced, showing a different number of dots. And even though the monkeys were mostly able to ignore the distraction, their concentration was disturbed and their memory performance suffered......

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