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Jon Lansner, Christian G. Jensen, Anders Petersen, Patrick M. Fisher, Vibe G. Frokjaer, Signe Vangkilde, Gitte M. Knudsen; The utility of employing accuracy-based behavioral measures, when conducting psychopharmacological research of attentional performance. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):279c. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.279c.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Rationale: Most pharmacological interventions produce effects in multiple neurological networks, and hence have the potential of affecting several different aspects of cognitive function. However, the detailed effects of a treatment on specific perceptual and cognitive processes cannot be readily disentangled by the most commonly used behavioral attention paradigms. Since performance is often both evaluated over several seconds, and not parced into cognitive components, most tests are not sensitive to subtle temporal changes, or to divergent effects between components. Objective: In this talk, we present data from multiple pharmacological experiments in order to probe the utility of applying an experimental paradigm that allows for a description of the temporal dynamics of multiple distinct components of visual attention, when investigating potential effects of pharmacological intervention on visual attention. Methods: In a range of randomized double-blind placebo-controlled designs, young healthy human participants were tested on multiple attentional parameters, before and after receiving either a 3-week SSRI intervention, an acute nicotine treatment, or an acute NET/DAT-inhibitor treatment. Data were modelled with a computational theory of visual attention to derive independent estimates of five distinct components of visual attention. Results: The pharmacological interventions can produce diverse effects on different components of attentional function. Some of these effects are only seen at specific time scales. Conclusions: The talk will provide a novel description of the attentional dynamics affected by the pharmacological interventions in question. The methodological background for finding these differences is discussed, through the comparison of our data to previous findings and reviews on pharmacological attention effects. Thus, we aim to accentuate the utility of employing accuracy-based, behavioral measures of attentional performance when conducting psychopharmacological research.
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