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    Research update July 2014

    July 16th, 2014

    Update July   2014

    Colleagues and Viewers:


    I had not updated my website in several years, but have now learned how to do it. During the last few years I have been engaged in several projects outlined below. In these posts I will try to keep updates on what we find and how we are proceeding.


    Origin of Attention Networks

    We have just finished a longitudinal study begun at 7 months in 2004 and finishing in 2013 at age 8.  Among our discoveries in the transition from dominant control by the orienting network during infancy and early childhood to  the executive network at age 3-4.

    Our most recent paper shows that one can predict later network performance as shown on the Attention Network Test from temperament reported by parents at 7 months. Each network has a separate set of predictors.


    Posner, M.I. , Rothbart, M.K. Sheese, B.E. & Voelker, P. (2014)  Developing Attention: Behavioral and Brain Mechanisms.  Adv. In Neuroscience Advances in    Neuroscience Volume 2014, Article ID 405094

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/405094  NIHMSID 596939

    Dev. Attn Adv in Neuro 2014

    Mental Training

    We have been training undergraduates with a version of mindfulness meditation called Integrated Body Mind Training (IBMT).  When compared to relaxation training as a control condition as  little as five days of IBM improves attention and  mood and reduces stress.  After two to four weeks of training diffusion tensor imaging shows changes in white matter, first in axonal density and later in myelination.




    Tang, Y-Y.,Lu, Q., Fan, M., Yang, Y., & Posner,M.I. (2012) Mechanisms of White  Matter Changes Induced by Meditation  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA  109 (26)

    10570-10574  doi10/.1073pnas.1207817109

    PNAS-2012-WM mech




    Educational Neuroscience

    There has been a lot of interest in whether cognitive neuroscience can improve educational outcomes.  We have written two recent reviews on this topic that appeared in the ournal Trends in Neuroscience and Education.  They outline how attention training my improve self regulation and suggest pathways that relate changes in the executive attention network (anterior cingulate gyrus) to areas of the brain related to learning (hippocampus).


    Posner MI, Rothbart, MK.K. & Tang Y. (2013)  Developing self-regulation in earlychildhood. Trends in Neuroscience and Education


    Tines1 final proof

    Posner M.I. & Rothbart, M.K.Attention to learning of school subjects.(2014) Trends in Neuroscience  and Education


    TINE 2 2014 Learning



    Clinical Applications

    We have applied training methods to the study of tobacco addiction.   The results  showed a reduction of 60% in consumption even among those who had no intention to quit.

    This paper may cause a needed re-examination of the role of intention in addiction.  We are undertaking such an examination



    Tang, Y-Y, Tang, R., & Posner, M.I. (2013) Brief meditation training induces smoking reduction. Proceedings of the US National Academy 110/34  13971-13975


    PNAS-Tabacco 2013



    Various editors have asked me to summarize or update earlier paper I had written.  Recent efforts along these lines are mentioned below.


    Petersen, S.E. & Posner, M.I.  (2012)  The attention system of the human brain:20 years after.  Annual Review of Neuroscience 35, 71-89

    Ann review final

    In 1990 Petersen and I had written a widely cited review in the Annuall Review of Neuroscience we recently updated this on the request of the editors after 20 years.



    Posner, M.I.( 2012) Imaging attention networks. Neuroimage   61/2  450-456 doi 10.1016/neuroimage,2011.12.040


    On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Journal Neuroimage I was asked together with Jon Driver to write a review of neuroimaging studies of attention.  Unfortunately Jon Driver past away before he was able to write for this review and the article is dedicated to his memory and contribution

    Neuroimage20th Ann Attn


    Posner, M.I. (in press) Orienting of Attenton  Quarterly Journal ofExperimental Psychology


    In 1979 I delivered the 7th Sir Frederick Bartlett lecture under the title Orienting of Attention it was published in 1980 and has been cited more than 5,000 times the editors asked for an update that is to be published in 2014

    .OofA 20 years later


    Posner, M.I. (2013) The Expert Brain Ch 6 in J.J. Stazewski (ed) Expertise and skill

    Acquisition: The impact of William G. Chase London:Psychology Press

    pp 243-59


    A special event honoring the career of William G.Chase was held.  The resulting book covered developments in the field of expertise related to the work of Chase.  As a former teacher and friend of Chase I was invited to present the paper mentioned above which was published in 2013.  I  feel this review provides a good background in how cognitive neuroscience has and can influence this field.

    Expertise 2013


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