The phenomenon of attention is treated in terms of the ability to select some sensory input channels over others by the central nervous system for further processing and behavioral organization. Studies of birds and mammals are reviewed to illustrate two major points : - 1) The physiological interactions of the hippocampus and septum modulated by adrenocorticotropin (ACTH), adrenal and gonadal steroids have an important influence on the selective aspects of perception. 2) The theme is developed that some of these interactions mediate one of the attributes of an attention process: namely, the ability to direct attention (facilitated processing capacity)to salient stimuli to the exclusion of an irrelevant background. Contents: . A hippocampal role in attention -- a) Electrophysiological correlates, b) Behavioral approaches, . Active sites for hormones -- a) Pituitary-adrenal hormones, b) Gonadal steroid hormones, . ACTH 4-10 related molecules and behavior, . Effects of carbohydrate active steroids, . Physiological interactions of pituitary-adrenal hormones with the hippocampus, . Circulating gonadal steroids and persistence -- a) Testosterone, b) Estrogen, . Conclusion
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