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Neurophysiological Mechanisms of Auditory Distractibility in the Healthy, Aging or Damaged Human Brain

Abstract : Top-down (TD) and bottom-up (BU) mechanisms of attention are supported by dorsal and ventral networks that mainly overlap in the lateral prefrontal cortex (lPFC). A balance between these mechanisms is essential, yet rarely investigated. Increased distractibility observed during ageing or after frontal damage could result from jeopardizing this balance. It has been proposed that distinct oscillatory frequencies support the activation of these two attention networks. Our main aim was to test, in the auditory modality, whether (1) alpha oscillations would coordinate activity within the dorsal TD network, (2) gamma activity would index the activation of the ventral BU network, (3) the lPFC would support the balance between these networks through oscillatory coupling. We also aimed to investigate the oscillatory correlates of the increased distractibility associated with ageing or frontal damage. MEEG data were recorded while participants performed the Competitive Attention Test, which enables simultaneous investigation of BU and TD attention mechanisms. We showed that alpha oscillations indexed facilitatory and suppressive mechanisms of TD attention, and communication within the dorsal network; while gamma oscillations indexed the ventral network activation. Moreover, the lPFC subtended communication in the two networks; with the TD/BU interaction occurring in the medial PFC. We also showed that ageing-related distractibility was of TD deficit origin. Finally, preliminary results suggest that lPFC damage can impact both TD and BU attention. This thesis provides novel insights into the brain oscillatory dynamics of the TD/BU attentional balance supporting distractibility
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 20, 2019 - 11:37:08 AM
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Hesham Elshafei. Neurophysiological Mechanisms of Auditory Distractibility in the Healthy, Aging or Damaged Human Brain. Neuroscience. Université de Lyon, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018LYSE1255⟩. ⟨tel-02037308⟩

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