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Is attentional blink a byproduct of neocortical attractors?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Numerical Analysis and Computer Science (NADA). Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden; Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
2011 (English)In: Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, ISSN 1662-5188, Vol. 5, 13- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study proposes a computational model for attentional blink or blink of the mind, a phenomenon where a human subject misses perception of a later expected visual pattern as two expected visual patterns are presented less than 500 ms apart. A neocortical patch modeled as an attractor network is stimulated with a sequence of 14 patterns 100 ms apart, two of which are expected targets. Patterns that become active attractors are considered recognized. A neocortical patch is represented as a square matrix of hypercolumns, each containing a set of minicolumns with synaptic connections within and across both minicolumns and hypercolumns. Each minicolumn consists of locally connected layer 2/3 pyramidal cells with interacting basket cells and layer 4 pyramidal cells for input stimulation. All neurons are implemented using the Hodgkin-Huxley multi-compartmental cell formalism and include calcium dynamics, and they interact via saturating and depressing AMPA/NMDA and GABA(A) synapses. Stored patterns are encoded with global connectivity of minicolumns across hypercolumns and active patterns compete as the result of lateral inhibition in the network. Stored patterns were stimulated over time intervals to create attractor interference measurable with synthetic spike traces. This setup corresponds with item presentations in human visual attentional blink studies. Stored target patterns were depolarized while distractor patterns where hyperpolarized to represent expectation of items in working memory. Simulations replicated the basic attentional blink phenomena and showed a reduced blink when targets were more salient. Studies on the inhibitory effect of benzodiazepines on attentional blink in human subjects were compared with neocortical simulations where the GABA(A) receptor conductance and decay time were increased. Simulations showed increases in the attentional blink duration, agreeing with observations in human studies. In addition, sensitivity analysis was performed on key parameters of the model, including Ca(2+)-gated K(+) channel conductance, synaptic depression, GABA(A) channel conductance and the NMDA/AMPA ratio of charge entry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 5, 13- p.
Keyword [en]
attentional blink, attention, neocortex, cortical dynamics, Hodgkin-Huxley model, attractor networks
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-68108DOI: 10.3389/fncom.2011.00013ISI: 000290168400001OAI: diva2:472616

authorCount :2

Available from: 2012-01-04 Created: 2012-01-03 Last updated: 2015-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Lansner, Anders
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Numerical Analysis and Computer Science (NADA)
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