Urbanisation, the Arousal System, and Covert and Overt Attentional Selection

Linnell, Karina J and Caparos, Serge. 2020. Urbanisation, the Arousal System, and Covert and Overt Attentional Selection. Current Opinion in Psychology, 32, pp. 100-104. ISSN 2352-250X [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Urbanisation is growing rapidly. We review evidence that this growth is altering the default information processing style of human beings by impacting both overt and covert processes of attentional selection (i.e. attentional selection with and without eye movements respectively), in ways consistent with reduced attentional engagement and increased exploration. While the factors and systems mediating these effects are likely to be many and various, we focus on one system which may be responsible for mediating effects on both covert and overt attentional selection. Specifically, the neuromodulatory locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC-NE) system is key to regulating cognitive function in a behaviourally relevant and arousal-dependent manner and therefore well suited to supporting adaptation to the profound socio-ecological changes inherent in urbanisation.

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The authors would like to acknowledge funding from the Economic and Social Research Council [grant number 2558227] and British Academy/Leverhulme Trust [grant number SG112929] in the UK and from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council [grant number 890-2016-0083] in Canada that supported the work with African populations.

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18 August 2019Published Online
April 2020Published

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29 Apr 2024 09:10

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2024 15:11

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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