We use human behavioural studies, neuroimaging, and electrophysiological recording to gain understanding of the visual attention system. We are interested broadly in the mechanisms of visual awareness and their intimate link with attention. We study basic processes of the visual attention system involving oscillations in neural activity, as well as how these processes are utilized in real world tasks such as driving and video games. We are also developing and researching new technologies to non-invasively monitor physiology and brain activity.
More specifically, I am investigating the functional role of ongoing neural oscillations in visual perception and awareness using EEG, as well as event-related optical brain imaging.
EEG Alpha Phase and Awareness – Pulsed Inhibition (Mathewson et al., 2009, Journal of Neuroscience; Mathewson et al., 2011, Frontiers in Perception Science) — To see or not to see — Open source review paper
Depending on the phase of ongoing EEG alpha rhythms, identical visual targets can be either detected or undetected. Alpha acts as a PULSED INHIBITION on ongoing visual processing.
By flashing rhythmic visual stimuli, the visual system becomes entrained to their timing, producing periodic fluctuations in the resultant awareness.
Flexible Electronics for Neuroscience (Xu, Zhang, Jia, Mathewson et al., 2014, Science; Jang, Han, Xu, Mathewson et al., Nature Communications) — popular press
We are developing, along with material scientists and engineers, flexible devices that adhere to the skin and can wireless record and transmit electrophysiological information about the brain. We have applied this technology to a driving simulator where we measure heart, muscle, eye, and brain activity during natural behaviours.
Driving and the Brain (Gaspar et al., In Press, Psychological Science; Jang et al., 2014, Nature Communications )
We use naturalistic driving simulators to study the human attention system engaged in a demanding and ecologically valid task. This research utilizes cutting edge neuroimaging tools and techniques to afford portable and wireless recording of neuroimaging and physiological data.
We are using a fast optical imaging technique called the event related optical signal (EROS) to visualize the difference in brain activity when someone is and is not aware of a target, as well as the relationship between these signals and EEG oscillations
Our research has focused on the changes that occur in the brain as on becomes an expert at a complicated video game. Furthermore, we able to predict who will learn the game the fastest, and whose skills will transfer outside the game
When two ambiguous figures are placed side by side, their interpretation normally fluctuates in unison. By providing a verbal relationship between the interpretations, we can allow normally conflicting interpretations to peacefully coexist side by side