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Noradrenergic neuromodulation of human attention for emotional and neutral stimuli.

Author(s): De Martino B, Strange BA, Dolan RJ

Affiliation(s): Functional Imaging Laboratory, Institute of Neurology, Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, 12 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG, UK. b.martino@fil.ion.ucl.ac.uk

Publication date & source: 2008-03, Psychopharmacology (Berl)., 197(1):127-36. Epub 2007 Nov 30.

Publication type: Randomized Controlled Trial; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

INTRODUCTION: Norepinephrine (NE) has a regulatory role in human attention. OBJECTIVE: To examine its role in emotional modulation of attention, we used an attentional blink (AB) paradigm, in the context of psychopharmacological manipulation, where targets were either emotional or neutral items. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: We report behavioural evidence that beta-adrenergic blockade with propranolol impairs attention independent of target valence. Furthermore, this effect is centrally mediated as administration of the peripheral beta-adrenergic antagonist nadolol did not impair attention. By contrast, increasing NE tone, using the selective NE reuptake inhibitor reboxetine, improves detection of emotional stimuli. CONCLUSION: In line with theoretical and animal models, these findings provide human behavioural evidence that the adrenergic system has a modulatory influence on selective attention that in some instances depends on item valence.

Page last updated: 2008-11-03

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