CBBM Lecture - Attending across time

by Rachel Denison, Psychological & Brain Science, Boston University

Rachel Denison

 will take place on Tuesday, May 24th, 2022, Time: 3 pm German time (15:00 hours)

Host: Jonas Obleser
Department of Psychology

Abstract: Selection is the hallmark of attention: processing improves for attended items but is relatively impaired for unattended items. It is well known that visual spatial attention changes sensory signals and perception in this selective fashion. In the work I will present, we asked whether and how attentional selection happens across time. First, our experiments revealed that voluntary temporal attention (attention to specific points in time) is selective, resulting in perceptual tradeoffs across time. Second, we developed a computational model of dynamic attention, which proposes specific mechanisms underlying temporal attention and its selectivity. Finally, we probed the neural mechanisms of voluntary temporal attention, while controlling for temporal expectation (or mere predictability). We found that the eyes stabilized and visual cortical sensitivity increased in anticipation of an attended stimulus. Altogether, this research shows how precisely timed voluntary attention helps manage inherent limits in visual processing across short time intervals, advancing our understanding of attention as a dynamic process.

Speaker information: Rachel Denison studied cognitive neuroscience at the University of Oxford. After completing her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley (with Michael Silver), she worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Marisa Carrasco and David Heeger at NYU. She is now the head of the Denison Lab at Boston University, USA. Her research group investigates visual perception, attention, and decision making, with focus on temporal dynamics. The research integrates behavioral measurements (psychophysics, eye tracking), neural measurements (fMRI, EEG/MEG) and computational modelling.

Denison, R.N., Carrasco, M., & Heeger, D.J. (2021). A dynamic normalization model of temporal attention.
Nature Human Behaviour.