Electrophysiological evidence for enhanced attentional deployment in spatial learners.

TitleElectrophysiological evidence for enhanced attentional deployment in spatial learners.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsDrisdelle BLee, Konishi K, Diarra M, Bohbot VD, Jolicoeur P, West GL
JournalExp Brain Res
Date Published2017 May

Visual spatial attention is important during navigation processes that rely on a cognitive map, because spatial relationships between environmental landmarks need to be selected, encoded, and learned. People who navigate using this strategy are spatial learners, and this process relies on the hippocampus. Conversely, response learners memorize a series of actions to navigate, which relies on the caudate nucleus. Response learning, which is more efficient, is thought to involve less demanding cognitive operations, and is related to reduced grey matter in the hippocampus. To test if navigational strategy can impact visual attention performance, we investigated if spatial and response learners showed differences in attentional engagement used during a visual spatial task. We tested 40 response learners and 39 spatial learners, as determined by the 4-on-8 Virtual Maze (4/8 VM), on a target detection task designed to elicit an N2pc component (an index visual spatial attention). Spatial learners produced a larger N2pc amplitude during target detection compared to response learners. This relationship might represent an increase in goal-directed attention towards target stimuli or a more global increase in cognitive function that has been previously observed in spatial learners.

Alternate JournalExp Brain Res
PubMed ID28229169