To Pay Attention, the Brain Uses Filters, Not a Spotlight | Quanta Magazine
Even with massive amounts of information drowning our senses, we can focus on what is important and take action.
The brain’s ability to focus on a particular signal while filtering out the rest is now being studied by neuroscientists in detail, and the decades-old studies of the brain cortex being responsible for the same are now proving to be incomplete.
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When Ivan Pavlov and his dogs led to the discovery of learned behaviour through repeated exposure, and Edward Thorndike discovered the Law of Effect that stated that rewarded behaviours tended to increase, many psychologists were impelled to separate psychology from armchair introspection and formulated their theories as mathematical formulas.
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A depressed person may undervalue potentially rewarding experiences.
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Researchers are working on possible drug treatments that could stimulate this circuit. They suggest that training patients to enhance activity in this circuit through biofeedback could offer another potential way to improve their cost-benefit evaluations.