Laboratory of Visual Attention and Memory
To interact with the world, we must store information in memory, but those memories are incomplete. For example, if you saw a car race past you on the street, what would you remember about it? Its shape? Its color? If you did remember the color, how close would the hue be to the original? Would your conscious experience of seeing the car match the actual memory that you formed afterwards?
Research suggests that the mind is like a film editor; it stores bits and pieces of what we see, much like a highlight reel or a movie trailer. My lab is trying to understand how the mind threads different pieces of information together to form both our momentary sense of awareness and our remembered mental experience. To do this, we build computer models of brain networks and test those models against many kinds of experimental data, such as brainwave potentials recorded with an EEG, eye movements, and carefully designed behavioral manipulations. More recently, we have been using virtual reality and 3D printing to create more realistic and tangible environments for our experiments.
This work has relevance to students who want to pursue careers in research, but also to anyone who has an interest in philosophy, filmmaking, or engineering. All students will have opportunities to learn how to read scientific papers, program computers and work in a laboratory setting.