University of Cambridge > > Zangwill Club > The spatial and temporal dynamics of attention: insights from direct access to the attentional spotlight

The spatial and temporal dynamics of attention: insights from direct access to the attentional spotlight

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Louise White.

Recent accumulating evidence challenges the traditional view of attention as a continuously active spotlight over which we have direct voluntary control, suggesting instead a rhythmic operation. However, the precise mechanism through which this rhythmic exploration of space is subserved remains unknown. Recent work proposes that specific inter-areal synchronization mechanisms in the theta range play an important role in this respect. I will present monkey electrophysiological data reconciling these two views. I will apply machine learning methods to reconstruct, at high spatial and temporal resolution, the spatial attentional spotlight from monkey prefrontal neuronal activity. I will first describe behavioral and neuronal evidence for distinct spatial filtering mechanisms, the attentional spotlight serving to filter in task relevant information while at the same time filtering out task irrelevant information. I will then provide evidence for rhythmic spatial attention exploration by this prefrontal attentional spotlight in the alpha (7-12Hz) frequency range. I will discuss this rhythmic exploration of space both from the perspective of sensory encoding and behavioral trial outcome, when processing either task relevant or task irrelevant information. While these oscillations are task-independent, I will describe how their spatial unfoldment flexibly adjusts to the ongoing behavioral demands. I will conclude by bridging the gap between this alpha rhythmic exploration by the attentional spotlight and previous reports on a contribution of long-range theta oscillations in attentional exploration and I will propose a novel integrated account of a dynamic attentional spotlight.

Suliann Ben Hamed has an initial training in mathematics, physics and biology. She is alumini of the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Paris. In 1999, she defended a PhD in neurosciences from the University Pierre et Marie Curie. Her PhD was performed at the Collègue de France, in the Laboratory of Neurophysiology of Action and Perception, directed by Alain Berthoz, from 1996 to 1999, and consisted in the characterization of the visual and oculomotor parietal functions in the non-human primate. She then completed a first post-doctoral training in Italy, at the University of Medicine of Parma, in neuroanatomy, then a second post-doctoral training at the University of Rochester, USA , in computational neurosciences. In 2002, she was recruited at the CNRS and joined the Institute of Cognitive Sciences (Lyon), created and directed at the time by Marc Jeannerod. She is now a CNRS research director, since 2014. She is heading the lab of Cognition and action, and she combines her research skills to set up a lab associating comparative electrophysiology and functional imaging studies in humans and non-human primates, to question the neural bases of attention, perception and multisensory space representations in relation with actions. In 2015, she was awarded a consolidator ERC on attention-based brain machine interfaces to enhance and restore cognition.

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.


© 2006-2024, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity