Rachel Denison, PhD
Psychological & Brain Sciences, Boston University
Monday, February 22, 2021
11:10 am - 12:30 pm
The dynamics of temporal attention
Selection is the hallmark of attention: processing improves for attended items but is relatively impaired for unattended items. It is well known that visual spatial attention changes sensory signals and perception in this selective fashion. In the work I will present, we asked whether and how attentional selection happens across time. First, our experiments revealed that voluntary temporal attention (attention to specific points in time) is selective, resulting in perceptual tradeoffs across time. Second, we measured small eye movements called microsaccades and found that directing voluntary temporal attention increases the stability of the eyes in anticipation of an attended stimulus. Third, we developed a computational model of dynamic attention, which proposes specific mechanisms underlying temporal attention and its selectivity. Lastly, I will mention how we are testing predictions of the model with MEG. Altogether, this research shows how precisely timed voluntary attention helps manage inherent limits in visual processing across short time intervals, advancing our understanding of attention as a dynamic process.