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The present study combined the attention network test and event-related potential approaches to investigate the neurocognitive expression of resource reduction on attention function as a result of long-term high-altitude exposure in immigrants of Tibet. When compared with low-altitude residents, the study found that high-altitude exposure decreased executive-control behavioral performance but enhanced the alerting response. Correspondingly, changes in the target N2 and P3 amplitudes indicated a decrease in conflict inhibition underlying the executive-control network. Instead, the study noted that high-altitude exposure induced additional attentional resources to the alerting stage from the aspect of a change in the cue/target N1 and P1 amplitudes, which may be derived from a reduced self-referencing function. Taken together, the current findings provided experimental evidence for the tight relationship between reduced general cognitive inhibition to the hypersensitivity of the altering attention network to external stimuli mainly observed in immigrants to Tibet.


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Overactive alerting attention function in immigrants to high-altitude Tibet

Show Author's information Hailin Ma1,2,§Xinjuan Zhang1,§Yan Wang3Huifang Ma4Yahua Cheng5Feng Zhang5Ming Liu1,2Delong Zhang1,2( )
 Plateau Brain Science Research Center, South China Normal University/Tibet University, Guangzhou 510631/Lhasa 850012, China
 Center for the Study of Applied Psychology, Key Laboratory of Mental Health and Cognitive Science of Guangdong Province, School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
 Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
 College of Management, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
 Department of Psychology, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China

§ Hailin Ma and Xinjuan Zhang contributed equally to this work.

Abstract

The present study combined the attention network test and event-related potential approaches to investigate the neurocognitive expression of resource reduction on attention function as a result of long-term high-altitude exposure in immigrants of Tibet. When compared with low-altitude residents, the study found that high-altitude exposure decreased executive-control behavioral performance but enhanced the alerting response. Correspondingly, changes in the target N2 and P3 amplitudes indicated a decrease in conflict inhibition underlying the executive-control network. Instead, the study noted that high-altitude exposure induced additional attentional resources to the alerting stage from the aspect of a change in the cue/target N1 and P1 amplitudes, which may be derived from a reduced self-referencing function. Taken together, the current findings provided experimental evidence for the tight relationship between reduced general cognitive inhibition to the hypersensitivity of the altering attention network to external stimuli mainly observed in immigrants to Tibet.

Keywords:

high-altitude exposure, attention, attention network test, event-related potential, cognitive inhibition
Received: 22 April 2020 Revised: 05 June 2020 Accepted: 22 July 2020 Published: 22 March 2021 Issue date: January 2021
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Publication history
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Publication history

Received: 22 April 2020
Revised: 05 June 2020
Accepted: 22 July 2020
Published: 22 March 2021
Issue date: January 2021

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© The Author(s) 2020

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31660274) and the reformation and development funds for local region universities from China government in 2020.

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