Interactions between Dorsal and Ventral Attention Networks
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Prior to thinking of attention as a measurable construct, attention has been divided in multiple forms, such as selective attention, divided attention, top-down attentional control and bottom-up attention. Although these terms have conceptual value, as they help researchers to think of attention as a phenomenon that can be investigated and measured, the question arises if these different concepts of attention also really exist in the human brain in terms of anatomically and functionally segregated systems. This seems to be the case and many cognitive neuroscientists have contributed to the discovery of functionally and anatomically distinct attention networks in the human brain. This thesis zooms in on two of these networks, a dorsal pathway including frontal and parietal regions, and a ventral pathway including frontal and temporal-parietal regions. In chapter 1 and 2 of this thesis, literature on the functions, neuroanatomy and neurochemistry of each attention network is reviewed. Because research has brought forth a large body of knowledge about the anatomical and functional segregation of these attention networks, it has become possible to investigate how these networks are engaged and interact in daily life situations. The research that is conducted on this topic is reviewed in chapter 3.