Researchers at New York University have determined the location in the brain where involuntary attention enhances visual processing. The researchers, from NYUs Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science, found that attending to, or selectively processing information from a given location without directing our eyes to that location, enhances performance in visual tasks as well as the neural activity underlying the processing of ensuing images. The results are published in the latest issue of the journal Neuron.
A sudden appearance of an object in our visual field will grab our attention--causing an involuntary reaction. Taosheng Liu, Franco Pestilli, and Marisa Carrasco, the researchers for the Neuron study, have previously investigated this process. Behavioral research from the Carrasco lab has shown that involuntary, or transient, attention improves performance in simple, early visual processing tasks--it actually helps us see things better. The NYU study in Neuron shows the neural basis of this effect. It identifies an increase in neural activity in areas of the brain that respond to the attended stimulus--that is, to the information that is selectively processed at a given location.
In this study, the researchers presented observers with two patches simultaneously in the periphery of their line of sight on a computer display: one tilted (target) and one vertical (distracter). They were asked to indicate whether the target was tilted to the right or to the left. Each display was preceded by a cue that was either on the same (cued location) or the opposite (uncued location) side of the target [see diagram of experimental trial]. The purpose of the pre-cue was to automatically attract observers attention to its location. Importantly, the cue was completely uninformative regarding both target location and orientation, and observers were told so. Although there was no incentive to use the cue, observers still performed better when the target appeared at the cued location than when it appeared at the uncued location, confirming the reflexive nature of this type of attention orienting.
James Devitt | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy