Anthony Harris (PhD Exit Seminar)

Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland

Title: "The role of neural oscillations in human visual attention and awareness"


Allocation of human visual attention is robustly associated with a decrease in the amplitude of ~10 Hz ‘alpha’ oscillations in cortical regions representing the attended location. However, studies of this association have almost exclusively examined situations in which attention is voluntarily allocated to a particular location. Aside from voluntary allocation, behavioural studies have produced evidence for a range of mechanisms by which attention can be allocated. The role of neural oscillations in these other forms of attentional allocation is currently unknown. Here I will present work examining whether oscillations in the alpha band (and others) are associated with three previously unexamined aspects of attention; the involuntary capture of spatial attention by stimuli that possess goal-relevant properties; automatic attentional allocation associated with awareness of non-salient and goal-irrelevant stimuli; and the detection and processing of stimuli at unattended locations. The results of these studies show alpha oscillations are involved in both voluntary and involuntary attentional allocation, suggesting alpha oscillations may underlie a general mechanism of spatial attention. Processing of stimuli at unattended locations, by comparison, seems to be mediated by lower frequency oscillations, suggesting visual stimulus processing may involve interactions of sampling processes at a number of different frequencies.


About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

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Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018