Attention and perception

Chair(s): Malte Wöstmann (Lübeck), Daniel Schneider (Dortmund)

Presenter(s): Malte Wöstmann (Lübeck), Anna-Katharina Bauer (Oxford, UK), Bojana Mirkovic (Oldenburg), Daniel Schneider (Dortmund), Dirk van Moorselaar (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

In theory, selective attention is the net result of target selection and distractor suppression. The way in which the human neuro-cognitive system implements both mechanisms has remained contested. Recent insights from cognitive neuropsychology support the view of attention as a dynamic set of filters rather than a static spotlight. In a series of five talks, this symposium will bring together researchers approaching the mechanics and the neural implementation of the attention filter from different angles, using behavioral psychophysics and electroencephalography (EEG). Malte Wöstmann (University of Lübeck) will provide evidence from EEG that distractor suppression is independent of target selection and operates in a rhythmic manner. Anna-Katharina Bauer (University of Oxford) will demonstrate that the rhythmic sampling of visual target stimuli is subject to cross-modal entrainment. Bojana Mirkovic (University of Oldenburg) will focus on one of the most important sensory stimuli in our environments – human speech – to show that degraded acoustics and hearing-loss affect the neural segregation of target and distractor speech. Daniel Schneider (IfADo Dortmund) will present evidence for attentional filtering on the level of visual working memory, where temporarily stored target items are enhanced while distractors are suppressed. Finally, Dirk van Moorselaar (Vrije University, Amsterdam) will show that neural effects of learned expectations critically depend on task relevance (targets vs. distractors) and the dimension of predictions (spatial, feature). In sum, this symposium will establish a comprehensive account of target selection and distractor suppression on different levels of neural processing by a set of filters to implement selective attention.