There is an interesting paper on attention by Fossella and colleagues titled ‘Attentional Phenotypes for the Analysis of Higher Mental Function’ available here. This is another paper in a series by the same group which sets out their strategy for investigating human attentional mechanisms.
The researchers describe their methodology for investigating attentional mechanisms. They begin by identifying three types of functional mechanisms – alerting, orienting and executive attentional functions. For each they suggest associated neuranatomical circuits. They also identify candidate neurotransmitters for involvement in attentional processes and use these to suggest a candidate gene for further investigation. This is the DRD4 allele and in this paper they look at some of the evidence correlating a variation in the number of repeat sequences within the gene with performance on relevant psychometric tests. The researchers convey their approach to investigating attention with clarity and this approach could be replicated for investigation of other psychological functions.
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