A limited amount of visual information is retained between saccades. This information is stored into a limited memory system (transsaccadic memory). Since the capacity of transsaccadic memory is limited, selection of information is crucial. Selection of relevant information is modulated by attentional processes such as the presaccadic shift of attention and inhibition of return.
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In oculomotor selection, each saccade is thought to be automatically biased towards uninspected locations, inhibiting the inefficient behavior of repeatedly re-fixating the same objects. This automatic bias is related to inhibition of return (IOR). Although IOR seems an appealing property that increases efficiency in visual search, such a mechanism would not be efficient in other tasks. Indeed, evidence for additional, more flexible control over re-fixations has been provided.
Audiovisual distractors interfere with the correct programming of a saccade to a target. In this new study, we show that bimodal distractors evoke stronger oculomotor competition compared to unimodal distractors. We developed an elegant setup in which visual and auditory stimuli could be presented in spatial and temporal alignment to explore the influence of visual, auditory and audiovisual distractors on eye movements.
The pupillary light response has been shown not to be a purely reflexive mechanism, but to be sensitive to higher order perceptual processes, such as covert visual attention. In a new study we examined whether the pupillary light response is modulated by stimuli which are not physically present, but maintained in visual working memory.
Researchers from CNRS / Aix-Marseille University (France) and Utrecht University (Netherlands) have developed a way to—literally—write text by thinking of letters. In this technique, several letters are presented on a computer screen. The color of these letters continuously changes from white to black and back again, in different patterns.
Visual input that signals threat is inherently relevant to behavior. Accordingly, it has been demonstrated that threatening stimuli elicit faster behavioral responses than non-threatening stimuli. Considering that awareness is a prerequisite for performing demanding tasks and guiding novel behavior, visual input can be more adequately acted upon once it reaches awareness.
Jaarlijks kiest De Jonge Akademie tien nieuwe, talentvolle onderzoekers om haar gelederen te versterken. De Jonge Akademie is binnen de KNAW een zelfstandig platform van jonge topwetenschappers, met activiteiten op het gebied van interdisciplinariteit, wetenschapsbeleid, wetenschap en samenleving, en internationalisering.
As part of an ORA-grant with Daniel Smith from Durham University and Thomas Schenk from Ludwig Maximilians University, Stefan received €300.000 for a project investigating the link between attention and motor control.
Many studies have found a strong coupling between selective attention and eye movements. While it has already been shown that the attentional shift is not directly coupled to the final stages of motor execution, it is currently unknown to what aspect of the earlier stages of saccade preparation the attentional shift is coupled.
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