|Attention and Distraction Lab Website
Dr. Gaspelin is the principal investigator in the Attention and Distraction laboratory. In daily life, we are often overloaded by multiple competing stimuli and tasks. To function efficiently, we use mechanisms of attention to selectively process the most relevant sensory information and juggle our cognitive processing resources amongst the most important tasks. Our research aims to understand in the cognitive neuroscience underlying attentional processes in humans. These topics are studies via experiments that measure behavior, eye movements, and event-related potentials (ERPs).
**Dr. Gaspelin is accepting Ph.D. students for Fall 2024**
|Nicholas Gaspelin||McReynolds Hall|
Investigating motivational circuits underlying drug and natural rewards (i.e. food and exercise)
|Matthew J. Will|
|Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Research at my lab deals with the neural basis of attention, awareness, and action. Event-related potentials (ERPs), startle-blink, and neuroimaging techniques are used to identify the locus and time course of relevant brain processes in normal and neurologically impaired adults.
|Steven A. Hackley||108 Psychology Building|
|Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
Our lab is currently involved in research on autism, dementia, cognitive effects of stress, the cognitive neuroscience of problem solving ability, functional neuroimaging, and pharmacological modulation of cognition.
|David Beversdorf||Thompson Center, Suite 110|
|Dr. Schachtman's Laboratory
Associative Learning; Glutamate receptors and learning and behavior; Stimulus competition during associative and attributional processes
|Todd R. Schachtman|
|Health Neuroscience Center
The Health Neuroscience Center (HNC) is organized around using cognitive and affective neuroscience methods to investigate the pathophysiology of drug addiction and neuropsychiatric disorders. Our goal is to provide a bridge between preclinical and clinical trials research to better understand the etiology of dysregulated behavior and the effectiveness of new treatment that may ultimately be used in the clinic. We are currently conducting research in nicotine addiction and opioid use disorder; and examining the effects of novel pharmacological, non-invasive neural stimulation and behavioral-based treatments for substance use disorders. Each research project is conducted using human subjects and leverages a broad array of techniques, including fMRI brain imaging, lab-based behavioral measures, and remote behavioral monitoring and assessments. The HNC invites students, fellows, and faculty to discuss ways to collaborate on mind-blowing research that may hold the potential to reduce human suffering and improve well-being.
|Brett Froeliger||15 Melvin H. Marx Building, 1416 Carrie Francke Dr.|
|Memory and Cognitive Aging Laboratory
***NOTE - I will be considering doctoral applicants for the Fall 2024 academic year***
Research at our laboratory concerns fundamental issues regarding human memory processes and structures. One line of this research explores the interplay between attention and memory, with the intention of determining the role of attention as a part of Working Memory in encoding and retrieval processes. Another line of research investigates the mechanisms responsible for the adult-age changes in episodic memory. Finally, we are also interested in questions relating to the role of memory processes in real-life settings, including the relationships between the acquisition and retention of knowledge.
Adult-age changes in episodic memory
A major line of our research investigates the decline in memory efficiency that comes about with age. A major empirical and theoretical effort in our research over the years has been to understand age-related changes in encoding and retrieval processes. Recently, we have suggested an associative deficit framework that attributes an important part of age-related changes in episodic memory to the deficiency of older adults in creating and retrieving links between individual units of information. In recent studies we have shown that older adults can encode and retrieve the components of an episode reasonably well, but have problems in merging those components into a cohesive unit. In our current research, we are trying to provide convergent validity to this hypothesis, as well as discriminant validity, by contrasting and testing competing predictions made by the associative deficit hypothesis and by alternative hypotheses. Our plans are to further test specific predictions made by this hypothesis, as well as to identify the brain correlates associated with this deficit.
The interaction of attention, Working Memory and long-term memory
For several years now, we have been investigating the role of attention in memory processes and memory outcomes. Originally, this research focused on encoding processes, and the results showed complex relationships between the amount of attention paid at encoding and later memory performance. Recently, we have extended this research to memory retrieval processes and showed, together with our collaborators, that there are marked asymmetries between these processes and the processes of encoding. In particular, the damaging effect of withdrawal of attention is much greater at encoding than at retrieval. This suggests that “attentional resources” are needed during the learning of new information, but are less necessary during retrieval. Nonetheless, retrieval processes do exact a performance cost on the secondary task in a dual-task situation, so retrieval cannot be "automatic" as suggested earlier by several researchers.
Our view over the years has been that to understand encoding and retrieval processes, one must isolate their basic components. To this end, we have used online measures of performance to learn about the component processes of encoding and retrieval and to relate them to memory outcomes. In recent years, we have implemented this approach using secondary tracking tasks that allow temporal micro-level analysis, which permits the identification of several basic component processes at encoding and retrieval. These basic components, and the characteristic attentional costs associated with each, seem to predict both the patterns of vulnerability of encoding and retrieval to disruption in divided attention tasks, and the attentional costs incurred in these tasks. We are presently conducting further research along these lines, with the aim of generalizing this approach to normal subjects, as well as to other populations, including the aged and people who have suffered from brain damage.
The role of memory processes in real-life settings, including the relationships between acquisition and retention of knowledge
Over the years I have focused on applying concepts derived from basic memory and cognitive research to understanding real life behavior outside the laboratory, particularly in educational settings. Working with several collaborators, I have studied processes involved in the acquisition and retention of materials in formal settings. Moreover, I have developed several methods of measuring students knowledge structures, and evaluated how these structures change over time, what factors mediate their access and use, and how encoding and retrieval in real life interact with individual differences variables.
Equipment in the lab includes appropriate software packages to run the different types of experiments in the six testing rooms. We have also established a pool of community-dwelling older adults that participate in our experiments.
The current team in the lab includes a postdoctoral fellow, 2 graduate students, and 6 undergraduate students, and we welcome interested graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
|Moshe Naveh-Benjamin||9B McAlester|
|Memory and Neuroimaging Lab
***I will NOT be considering PhD applicants for Fall 2023***
Research in the lab focuses on episodic memory and uses two non-invasive brain imaging techniques: functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG).
|Jeffrey Johnson||126 Psychology Building|
|Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory||Scott Frey|
|Working Memory Laboratory
We conduct research on auditory and visual working memory and attention, in children and adults.
|Nelson Cowan||McAlester Hall Annex|
Professor (Radiology, Neurology, and Psychology)