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Prof Jan Atkinson
Visual Development Unit, Department of Psychology
University College London, Gower Street
  • Emeritus Professor of Psychology
  • Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences
Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary
See website: www.psychol.ucl.ac.uk/vdu My research interests fall into four different but overlapping areas: A. Basic research on normal development. In the Visual Development Unit a range of behavioural, electrophysiological evoked-potential (VEP/ERP), and optical techniques have been developed to allow measurements of visual performance over the age range from birth onwards. Much of this work involves infants in the first year of life. Specific abilities whose development has been tracked include pattern processing, contrast sensitivity, stereo vision, directional motion perception, control of visual attention, and accommodation. Among current and recent projects are: * Relationship of dorsal and ventral streams cortical function development using behavioural, VEP and new multielectode techniques of brain imaging in infants using a geodesic net; * Analysis of the visual stimuli that elicit and control different dorsal stream action systems such as shifts of attention using head and eye movements, reaching and grasping , navigation and stair descent; * Measures of developing abilities of visual attention in terms of selective attention, sustained attention and executive control. We have developed and normalized a new preschool attention battery; * Study development of location memory in spatial cognitive tasks in early childhood, identifying the different representations and their underpinnings in the brain. This work links with research on hippocampal functioning in adult neurological patients with focal lesions. In each case we aim to develop and test developmental neurobiological models of the brain mechanisms that underlie the child's abilities and limitations, linking our work to cognitive neuroscience and neurology in normal adults, adult patients and work on non human prumates and .
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