Attention is a fundamental property of cognitive architecture. Abnormalities of attention characterize a wide variety of clinical disorders and diseases, such as autism and Parkinson's disease. Changes in attention also characterize the normal aging process, as well as the response to a variety of drugs. Attention is also important in understanding the effects of sleep deprivation, including effects on medical personnel. A proper understanding of attention is central to understanding a range of public health problems. Our long term goal is to understand how people perform attention demanding everyday tasks. Consider driving. Driving requires attention to be focused over a period of minutes or hours, rather than milliseconds. Driving requires attention to multiple moving objects. While we may be driving continually for minutes to hours, we often need to shift attention among various subtasks (e.g. reading signs or dashboard instruments) without losing track of other cars on the road. However, our current understanding of attention has been largely built on studying brief or static displays. We cannot understand complicated behaviors like driving by studying processing of brief snapshots. Our everyday environment and behaviors are dynamic and extended in both time and space. In order to understand attention, therefore, we must study attention under similar conditions. We call this the study of dynamic attention. We propose to study three fundamental problems in dynamic attention. First, we will study the nature of capacity limitations in dynamic attention. Second, we propose a new theory, derived from the concept of association fields in contour perception, to explain how the visual system predicts object trajectories. Finally, we will study the mechanisms underlying successful multitasking. We propose to address these issues using both behavioral and electrophysiological approaches. Behavioral methods will be built on the multiple object tracking task. Additionally, we will use event-related potential methods to develop a neurophysiological index of tracking. We will employ this index to study questions which cannot be answered by purely behavioral methods. Relevance: Attention is a fundamental property of the brain. Impairments in attention underlie a wide variety of public health issues, from autism and attention deficit disorder to the aging process and the effects of sleep deprivation. We propose to study how attention works in complex, dynamic environments, using a combination of cognitive and neuroscience approaches.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01MH065576-07
Application #
7816705
Study Section
Cognition and Perception Study Section (CP)
Program Officer
Rossi, Andrew
Project Start
2002-04-01
Project End
2011-11-30
Budget Start
2010-05-01
Budget End
2011-11-30
Support Year
7
Fiscal Year
2010
Total Cost
$303,970
Indirect Cost
Name
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department
Type
DUNS #
030811269
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02115
Drew, Trafton; Mance, Irida; Horowitz, Todd S et al. (2014) A soft handoff of attention between cerebral hemispheres. Curr Biol 24:1133-7
Pinto, Yair; Otten, Marte; Cohen, Michael A et al. (2011) The boundary conditions for Bohr's law: when is reacting faster than acting? Atten Percept Psychophys 73:613-20
Howe, Piers D L; Drew, Trafton; Pinto, Yair et al. (2011) Remapping attention in multiple object tracking. Vision Res 51:489-95
Horowitz, Todd S; Kuzmova, Yoana (2011) Can we track holes? Vision Res 51:1013-21
Drew, Trafton; Horowitz, Todd S; Wolfe, Jeremy M et al. (2011) Delineating the neural signatures of tracking spatial position and working memory during attentive tracking. J Neurosci 31:659-68
Horowitz, Todd S; Cohen, Michael A (2010) Direction information in multiple object tracking is limited by a graded resource. Atten Percept Psychophys 72:1765-75
Pinto, Yair; Howe, Piers D L; Cohen, Michael A et al. (2010) The more often you see an object, the easier it becomes to track it. J Vis 10:4
Howe, Piers D L; Cohen, Michael A; Pinto, Yair et al. (2010) Distinguishing between parallel and serial accounts of multiple object tracking. J Vis 10:11
Howe, Piers D L; Pinto, Yair; Horowitz, Todd S (2010) The coordinate systems used in visual tracking. Vision Res 50:2375-80
Drew, Trafton; McCollough, Andrew W; Horowitz, Todd S et al. (2009) Attentional enhancement during multiple-object tracking. Psychon Bull Rev 16:411-7

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