Monitoring and Alerting

Ian H. Robertson

in Mind and the Frontal Lobes

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791569
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919215 | DOI:
Monitoring and Alerting

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This chapter addresses the relationship between the concept of monitoring as proposed by Don Stuss and his colleagues and the concept of alertness as proposed by Michael Posner and his colleagues. It concludes that these two concepts have a strong overlap which provides strong justification for the strongly overlapping attentional typologies devised by Stuss and by Posner. Monitoring is the basis for self-evaluation and accurate self-evaluation requires adequate online attention to ongoing performance in the routines of everyday life. The monitoring-alertness system is responsible for such routine monitoring, and consists of a network that includes two inter-related but independent systems – a locus coeruleus, noradrenalin based arousal system on the one hand, and a right dorsolateral prefrontal and parietal network on the other. These two sub-systems mutually facilitate each other and can compensate for underperformance in the other. Errors are important cues to attention to performance underpinning self-evaluation, and a number of common clinical conditions impairing prefrontal cortex function show impaired error awareness, but also impaired arousal response to aware errors. Alertness and monitoring share common neuroanatomical underpinnings, and may be overlapping concepts.

Keywords: attention; executive function; frontal lobes; prefrontal cortex; monitoring; awareness

Chapter.  5538 words. 

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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