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Research Interests

I am interested in selective attention, with a particular emphasis on the mechanisms and anatomy of selective attention in dynamic multi-target environments (such as traffic environments) that are characterised by high levels of stimulus competition across both visual fields.

Using a combination of fMRI, TMS, EEG, lesion-symptom mapping and psychophysical methods in neurologically healthy subjects and neuropsychological patients, my research predominantly focuses on the following two questions:

  1. How do neurologically healthy subjects attend and respond in everyday dynamic multi-target environments and which factors modulate this ability? In the UK alone, around 1800 people die each year in traffic-related accidents (WHO, 2013). To reduce accidents in these dynamic multi-target environments, understanding how healthy subjects navigate these environments is essential.

  2. Why are some neuropsychological patients not able to attend and respond in everyday dynamic multi-target environments and which factors are capable of ameliorating their deficit? An understanding of the critical mechanisms and neural substrates underlying this inability to navigate multi-target environments might enable better rehabilitation strategies, ultimately improving mobility and everyday quality of life in these patients.

Much of my research is inspired by the neuropsychological deficit known as extinction. Extinction is a common consequence of unilateral brain damage where patients are able to detect both ipsi- and contralesional information presented in isolation, but are unable to attend and respond to contralesional information in situations where ipsilesional information is concurrently present. That is, these patients show a selective inability to attend and respond in situations with high levels of stimulus competition across both visual fields. Therefore, studying this deficit could provide unique insights concerning the cognitive processes and neural anatomy critical for the ability to attend and respond in multi-target environments.

Research grants and projects

Grants

Visual short-term memory capacity and multi-target attention
Funder: Brunel Research Initiative & Enterprise Fund (BRIEF)
Duration: September 2018 -
Selective attention and perceptual awareness: Testing the competitive interaction hypothesis (renewal)
Funder: German Research Foundation
Duration: February 2015 - January 2018
Selective attention and perceptual awareness: Testing the competitive interaction hypothesis
Funder: German Research Foundation
Duration: February 2012 - January 2015