Center Calendar

"RAGNAROC: A Computational Model for Determining Winners and Losers in the Competition for Visual Attention", Chloe Callahan-Flintoft (U.S. Army Research Laboratory)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 01:00pm - 02:30pm

Busch Campus, Psych 105

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Abstract: A major challenge for the human visual system is deciding what to attend to. While a vast amount of visual information is available, the brain must decide what to prioritize for enhanced processing. This decision is based on a combination of goal-defined, top-down control (e.g. searching for a highway sign while driving), and stimulus driven, bottom-up salience (e.g. a deer suddenly appearing in front of your car). Mediating between these two competing requirements is a major challenge that the brain meets by allowing stimuli to compete for attention, a competition that is ultimately resolved by enhancing some information while suppressing others. In my talk I will begin by introduce the Reflexive Attention Gradient through Neural AttRactOr Competition (RAGNAROC), a model that uses hierarchical neural circuits specifically adapted for rapid, parallel decision making to deploy attention across the visual field. In doing so, the model, using a single set of neural mechanisms, is able to account for seemingly conflicting findings in the literature, such as how attentional capture can occur under certain circumstances while the suppression of distracting information occurs in others. Finally, I will conclude by demonstrating how the model can be used as a cognitive framework by which to test predictions and ultimately advise the development of visually augmented displays aimed at improving the situational awareness of Soldiers in the field.