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Attention Group
Our senses are typically bombarded with information. Light from many visible objects reaches our eyes, numerous sounds enter our ears, and so on. Yet at any one time we are aware of only a fraction of this incoming information- that which is attended. Our group studies the effects of attention on perception; the limits on what we can select for attention; the fate of unattended information; and the degree to which attention is coordinated across different sensory modalities (e.g. does concentrating in one direction for hearing have effects upon vision?). We seek convergence on these issues between data from psychological and neurophysiological studies (including ERPs, PET and fMRI). A further important source of evidence comes from neurological patients who suffer from attentional deficits following brain-damage (typically, after stroke: See MRIcro)for our methods of lesion reconstruction). 'Unilateral neglect' is a relatively common disorder after right-hemisphere damage, in which the patient seems to ignore information towards the left, as if exhibiting a pathological attentional bias to the right. We seek to understand the dilemma of such patients in terms of damage to components of the normal system for spatial attention; and find that studying their behaviour can yield new insights into the mental and neural processes affected by attention.
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