Attention and Cognitive Control

Attention and Cognitive Control


Meditation is likely to change mental functions in many different ways. My interest is to explore such changes in the domain of attention.Western psychology has developed experimental paradigms to measure different attentional skills and deployments. For example we can study the ability to focus attention and to suppress irrelevant stimuli, or conversely to spread attention more broadly to take in global properties, semantic gist, and form statistical descriptions. A related skill is the ability to divide attention between different concurrent tasks and/or to shift attention rapidly and flexibly between them. Practice in meditation may also improve the ability to shift the level of processing. Most people are trapped at the level of identified objects and are unable to tap in to earlier sensory representations, In sum, we hope to probe the breadth of focus, the efficiency of focus, the speed and flexibility of switching between tasks, and the ability to move between different levels of processing.

  • SRI 1
    4 sessions
  • June 22, 2004
    Garrison, New York
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Anne Treisman

Anne Treisman is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University. She has two B.A. degrees from Cambridge, England, in Modern Languages and in Natural Sciences, Psychology, and a D. Phi I. degree in Psychology from Oxford. Her main area of research has been on selective attention, starting with studies of selective listening, ("the cocktail party problem" or how we can focus on one voice among two or more), and then turning to visual attention and object perception, particularly the "binding.problem". Other interests have been in the integration of information in the perception of moving objects; perceptual learning; visual memory for objects and events; and in the brain mechanisms underlying these perceptual, attentional and memory functions. She has been elected to the Royal Society, London, the National Academy, USA, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and has received the following awards: -Killam Senior Fellowship, James McKeen Cattell Sabbatical Award; Howard Crosby Warren Medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists; Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association; Fellow of American Psychological Society; Golden Brain award of the Minerva Foundation (for "fundamental breakthroughs that extend our knowledge of vision and the brain").