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Task-specific computations in attentional maps

Dr. Jacqueline Gottlieb

Monday, October 01, 2007, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

Columbia University, Center for Neurobiology and Behavior

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Research on the neural substrates of attention has traditionally
concentrated on the way in which attention affects sensory
representations, in particular visual representations in
extrastriate cortex. Much less is known about the neural mechanisms
that generate the attentional-control signal itself: where are
decisions made about how to allocate attention in a given
circumstance, and what are the underlying mechanisms? I will
discuss some possible answers to these questions based on our work
in monkey lateral intraparietal area (LIP). Our results suggest
that LIP provides a priority map that encodes the locations of
attention-worthy objects and guides the deployment of attention in
a wide variety of tasks. However, this map is not invariant but is
shaped by multiple motor, cognitive and motivational task-relevant
variables. This suggests that LIP may be important for allocating
attention based on multiple simultaneous task demands. I will
discuss the broader implications of these findings for the neural
mechanisms of attention and for computational models of attention
and decision-making.

Background Reading:

Gottlieb J.  From thought to action: the parietal cortex as a bridge
between perception, action, and cognition. Neuron. 2007 Jan
4;53(1):9-16. Review.

Oristaglio J, Schneider DM, Balan PF, Gottlieb J.  Integration of
visuospatial and effector information during symbolically cued limb
movements in monkey lateral intraparietal area. J Neurosci. 2006 Aug

Dr. Jacqueline Gottlieb