PIs: Heiner Deubel, Agnieszka Wykowska
Selection, inhibition, and prediction are closely intertwined mechanisms that constitute core principles for the understanding of cognition. The main objective of this project is to study in a common experimental paradigm the functional importance of these mechanisms for perception and visuomotor control, define how they are related, analyze how they adapt to different tasks, and elucidate their neural mechanisms. The first part of the project will investigate exactly how the different attentional signals, related to the preparation of goal-directed eye and hand movements on the one hand, and to top-down and bottom-up attention on the other, are combined in an attentional map, how this map is dynamically updated across eye movements. In a second part we will study the interaction between selection and inhibition in visuomotor tasks that require both the selection of a movement target and the inhibition of non-target stimuli, and we will analyze the effects of predictability of target and distractors on selection and inhibition mechanisms. Finally, the third part of the project will extend the experimental approach to visual search tasks in which efficient search requires the suppression of salient but task-irrelevant sensory information. Here we want to explore whether and how prediction interacts also with automatic stimulus-driven attentional orienting (both covert and overt) in visual search. This research will fill a gap in our understanding of prediction and attention within the forward model and predictive coding theories.