The Effect of Catecholamines on Performance: From Unit to System Behavior

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 2 (NIPS 1989)

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David Servan-Schreiber, Harry Printz, Jonathan D. Cohen


At the level of individual neurons. catecholamine release increases the responsivity of cells to excitatory and inhibitory inputs. We present a model of catecholamine effects in a network of neural-like elements. We argue that changes in the responsivity of individual elements do not affect their ability to detect a signal and ignore noise. However. the same changes in cell responsivity in a network of such elements do improve the signal detection performance of the network as a whole. We show how this result can be used in a computer simulation of behavior to account for the effect of eNS stimulants on the signal detection performance of human subjects.