Research: Perception and cognition, attention and attentional selectivity, effects of exercise on cognition
The visual world presents far more information to the eyes than we can effectively deal with at any given time. Thus, what we see is determined by what we attend to. Our research examines the factors that determine the focus of attentional selectivity, and also explores the nature of perception outside the focus of attention (i.e., so-called preattentive vision.)
Current research in the lab is focused on how we manage to attend to relevant information and ignore irrelevant information even when it is highly salient. We are exploring the role of learning and are using both behavioral and neuroimaging techniques (especially EEG/ERP). Our recent work suggests that inhibition of irrelevant material, rather than enhancement of relevant material is what drives attentional selectivity. One offshoot of this basic research endeavor is an exploration of the ability of people with ADHD to ignore distracting stimuli.
We are also just beginning an investigation of the effects of acute exercise on cognition. This work is being carried out in conjunction with faculty from the schools of engineering and medicine.