In his book 'The Principles of Psychology', William James states that "Everyone knows what attention is. It is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others..."
Oddly enough, sleep, at its most basic level, is defined as the degree to which attention to an environmental stimulus is depressed. Thus, sleep and attention form opposite ends of a continuum. Not so surprisingly then, brain regions that mediate alterations in sleep/wake state overlap to a great degree with brain structures that mediate attention. This course will examine the 'systems neuroscience' of sleep and attention. That is, an emphasis will be placed on understanding how sleep and attention arise as part of an ongoing interaction across multiple brain regions. In the process, we'll examine both bottom-up and top-down forms of attention, alterations of attention in disorders such as ADD and schizophrenia, the emergence of attention within sleep (i.e., in REM or 'dream' sleep), and the mystery that is the function of sleep.
Instructor: Douglas Nitz - firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: Wednesday 10:30a- 12:00p, CSB-171