Event Abstract

Attentional networks are differentially affected by baro-afferent feedback

  • 1 University of Trier, Institute of Psychobiology, Germany

Visceral sensory neurotraffic, although processed without conscious awareness, may play a role in emotion and cognition. Baro-afferent signals were repeatedly found to inhibit pain perception, basic reflexes as well as simple cognitive functions. Furthermore, the evaluative component of psychomotor response times was found to be prolonged during the cardiac systole, suggesting that increased baro-afferent neurotraffic affects attention. The present study was designed to investigate this assumption in detail. The objective of this study was to investigate whether the alerting, orienting and execution attentional network systems are influenced by baro-afferent feedback processes. Therefore, 35 healthy volunteers (18 f, mean age: 23.1 y) completed an Attentional Network Test (ANT), in which the go-stimulus was elicited either during the cardiac systole (R-wave +230 ms) or the cardiac diastole (R +530 ms). Response time data indicated inhibition of the orienting and execution networks during the cardiac systole relative to the cardiac diastole, suggesting that these attentional networks may be impaired by baro-afferent neural traffic. In opposite, performance scores of the alerting network increased during the cardiac systole. These results indicate differential impact of baro-afferent neurotraffic on attentional networks, and may help to explain how the alerting network is favored by stress, which in most cases is accompanied by enhanced baro-afferent and cardiovascular neural feedback.

Conference: 41st European Brain and Behaviour Society Meeting, Rhodes Island, Greece, 13 Sep - 18 Sep, 2009.

Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Topic: Poster presentations

Citation: Schulz A, Wager J, Romer S and Schachinger H (2009). Attentional networks are differentially affected by baro-afferent feedback. Conference Abstract: 41st European Brain and Behaviour Society Meeting. doi: 10.3389/conf.neuro.08.2009.09.294

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Received: 15 Jun 2009; Published Online: 15 Jun 2009.

* Correspondence: Andre Schulz, University of Trier, Institute of Psychobiology, Trier, Germany, schulza@uni-trier.de