Rutgers Research on National Public Radio

National Public Radio featured the following article on "Morning Edition Saturday" on June 4, 2005, at 9:30 am. Joe Palca of NPR interviewed David Melcher of Oxford Brooks University, the principal author. He also interviewed Geoff Boynton of the Salk Institute, and Jeremy Wolfe of Harvard University, about their work in related areas of brain research 

Article in Neuron: Melcher D, Papathomas TV, Vidnyanszky Z. “Implicit attentional selection of bound visual features,” Neuron, June 2, 46(5), 723-729, 2005. The journal, one of the prime publications in brain research, featured the article on the cover, shown here, with the following text:

“The effects of selective attention on visual features that are explicitly attended have been well-demonstrated. Here, Melcher et al. provide evidence that, in addition to the demonstrated effects of attention on visual features that are selectively attended, selective attention can also modulate the processing of other visual features that are task irrelevant, not consciously perceived, and outside the explicit focus of attention. The authors determined the units of these new selection processes and suggest ‘implicit attentional selection’ as a term to differentiate these processes from those of explicit selection of task-relevant visual information. These results open a new perspective in the research on visual attention and provide testable predictions about the neural mechanisms of implicit attentional selection.”

Related Work: Papathomas and Vidnyanszky collaborated on additional experiments to locate areas in the brain that facilitate these attentional effects. They used a combination of psychophysical and brain imaging experiments with researchers at Princeton University’s fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) facility. Their team obtained evidence that human brain area MT+, long considered to be a primary area for processing visual motion, is involved in such attentional effects. Interestingly, area V1, the first cortical area that accepts input from the eyes and provides feedforward input to MT+, was not involved in these attentional effects. Their manuscript appeared in Neuroreport [Sohn W, Chong SC, Papathomas TV, Vidnyanszky Z. “Cross-feature spread of global attentional modulation in human area MT+”, Neuroreport, 16(12) 1389-1393, 2005]. 

People affiliated with Rutgers University

  • Thomas V. Papathomas is Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Associate Director of the Laboratory of Vision Research (LVR), and member of the Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS) at Rutgers University. 
  • David Melcher obtained his Ph.D. in 2001, with Eileen Kowler, Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University, as his advisor. He is currently a Principal Lecturer at Oxford Brooks University.
  • Zoltan Vidnyanszky worked as a post-doctoral associate with the late Dr. Bela Julesz, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Laboratory of Vision Research at Rutgers University, in 1998-2000. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
  • Wonyeong Sohn obtained her Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2004, with Prof. Papathomas as her advisor. She is currently a post-doctoral associate at Seoul National University in Korea. Acknowledgments: This research was supported by U.S. NEI/NIH (EY 013758-01) to TVP; by MUIR (project PRIN) and by grants from the RSBA to DM; and Hungarian National Research and Development Program to ZV. 

June 10, 2005

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