The role of neuronal synchronization in selective attention

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Apr;17(2):154-60. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2007.02.002. Epub 2007 Feb 15.


Attention selectively enhances the influence of neuronal responses conveying information about relevant sensory attributes. Accumulating evidence suggests that this selective neuronal modulation relies on rhythmic synchronization at local and long-range spatial scales: attention selectively synchronizes the rhythmic responses of those neurons that are tuned to the spatial and featural attributes of the attended sensory input. The strength of synchronization is thereby functionally related to perceptual accuracy and behavioural efficiency. Complementing this synchronization at a local level, attention has recently been demonstrated to regulate which locally synchronized neuronal groups phase-synchronize their rhythmic activity across long-range connections. These results point to a general computational role for selective synchronization in dynamically controlling which neurons communicate information about sensory inputs effectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / cytology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Choice Behavior / physiology*
  • Cortical Synchronization
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Periodicity*