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!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences