EP2: Cooperating brain systems in attention and control

Lead Research Organisation: MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

Abstract

One of the most exciting scientific developments of the last two decades is our increased understanding of how higher mental functions such as perception, language and memory arise from the neural activity of the brain. One central topic is how humans pay attention to important information in the world around them, constructing coherent and effective thought and behaviour. In this project, attention and control are studied at multiple levels, including measurements of normal human behaviour, impairment after brain damage, brain imaging, and neural activity at the cellular level. We aim for increased fundamental understanding of human brain function,with applications to many kinds of clinical disorders.

Technical Summary

One of the most exciting scientific developments of the last two decades is our increased understanding of how higher mental functions such as perception, language and memory arise from the neural activity of the brain. One central topic is how humans pay attention to important information in the world around them, constructing coherent and effective thought and behaviour. Although a complex mental function, involving interaction of higher sensory processing with current goals and task demands, the basic process of selective attention and cognitive control is probably similar across different species, allowing productive interaction of work in humans and other animals. In this project, attention and control are studied at multiple levels, including measurements of normal human behaviour, impairment after brain damage, local cerebral activity during different kinds of mental activity using functional brain imaging, and neural activity at the cellular level. By understanding these basic neural mechanisms underlying attention and control, we hope to improve diagnosis and management of crippling attentional impairments following stroke and other brain diseases.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description BB/H008217/1 BBSRC LoLa Scheme (PI L Tyler) Systems Cognitive Neuroscience of Healthy Ageing: Population-Representative Studies of Functional Plasticity and Neural Change - shared with L Tyler, F Matthews, W Marslen Wilson, J Duncan, R Henson, A Calder
Amount £700,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/H008217/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 09/2015
 
Description Improving inferences from brain imaging to understand selective attention
Amount $291,000 (AUD)
Organisation Australian Research Council 
Sector Public
Country Australia
Start  
 
Description Isaac Newton Fellowship
Amount £66,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2014
 
Description McDonnell 21st Century Award
Amount £300,000 (GBP)
Organisation James S. McDonnell Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 01/2006 
End 12/2010
 
Description Project Grant
Amount £263,000 (GBP)
Organisation International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United States
Start 07/2010 
End 06/2013
 
Description Project grant
Amount £171,000 (GBP)
Organisation Stroke Association 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2014 
End 06/2017
 
Description Project grant
Amount £158,100 (GBP)
Organisation Australian Research Council 
Sector Public
Country Australia
Start 01/2012 
End 12/2014
 
Description Royal Society Overseas Collaboration
Amount £4,240 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2007 
End 07/2007
 
Description Royal Sociey Overseas Collaboration
Amount £2,720 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2008 
End 03/2008
 
Description Small Grant
Amount £6,000 (GBP)
Organisation The British Academy 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2017
 
Description Small research grants
Amount £9,900 (GBP)
Funding ID SG113272 
Organisation The British Academy 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2013
 
Description Strategic Award
Amount £4,950,000 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2014 
End 02/2019
 
Title MD system 
Description An online definition of "multiple-demand" regions of the human brain for use of neuroimaging research 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of Data/Biological Samples 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact None 
 
Description Alex-Macquarie 
Organisation Macquarie University
Department Department of Psychology
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contribution to research planning
Collaborator Contribution All other aspects
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2012
 
Description CamCAN aging studies 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Department of Psychology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Specification of research question and analysis of data
Collaborator Contribution Funding and data acquisition
Impact Multidisciplinary: Cognitive science, neuroscience, epidemiology
Start Year 2010
 
Description Crossmodal attentional blink 
Organisation University Medical Center Gronigen
Country Netherlands 
Sector Hospitals 
PI Contribution Strategy/design of research
Collaborator Contribution Strategy/design/conduct of research
Impact Martens, S., Kandula, M., & Duncan, J. (2010). Restricted attentional capacity within but not between sensory modalities: An individual differences approach. PloS ONE, 5, e15280.
Start Year 2010
 
Description Dissociation of frontal systems 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Imperial College Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Research design, patient access
Collaborator Contribution Research design, experimental materials, running experiment
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description ECOG-BA 
Organisation University of Buenos Aires
Department Institute of Cellular Biology and Neurosciences
Country Argentina 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Research and task design; programming; data analysis
Collaborator Contribution Data acquisition
Impact None as yet.
Start Year 2012
 
Description ERP after brain lesions 
Organisation University of Brighton
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Access to brain damaged patients and experimental design
Collaborator Contribution Experimental design; ERP expertise; staff to conduct research
Impact None as yet
Start Year 2014
 
Description Frontal patient research 
Organisation The Institute of Cognitive and Behavioural Neurology
Country Argentina 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Strategy/design/conduct of research
Collaborator Contribution Strategy/design/conduct of research
Impact Roca, M., Parr, A., Thompson, R., Woolgar, A., Torralva, T., Antoun, N., Manes, F., & Duncan, J. (2010). Executive function and fluid intelligence after frontal lobe lesions. Brain, 133, 234-247.
Start Year 2007
 
Description MDdefinition-MIT 
Organisation Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Country United States 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Specification of research question and data analysis
Collaborator Contribution Specification of research question and data acquisition/analysis/write-up
Impact Fedorenko, E., Duncan, J., & Kanwisher, N. (in press.) Language-selective and domain-general regions lie side by side within Broca's area. Current Biology.
Start Year 2009
 
Description NHP neuroimaging 
Organisation Max Planck Society
Department Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Strategy/design/conduct of research
Collaborator Contribution Strategy/design/conduct of research
Impact Stoewer, S., Ku, S.-P., Goense, J., Steudel, T., Logothetis, N. K., Duncan, J., & Sigala, N. (2010). Frontoparietal activity with minimal decision and control in the awake macaque at 7T. Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 28, 1120-1128.
 
Description Primate research 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Experimental Psychology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Strategy/design/conduct of research
Collaborator Contribution Collaboration in strategy/design/conduct of scientific programme
Impact Everling, S., Tinsley, C. J., Gaffan, D., & Duncan, J. (2006). Selective representation of task-relevant objects and locations in the monkey prefrontal cortex. European Journal of Neuroscience, 23, 2197-2214. Sigala, N., Kusunoki, M., Nimmo-Smith, I., Gaffan, D., & Duncan, J. (2008). Hierarchical coding for sequential task events in the monkey prefrontal cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 105, 11969-11974. Kusunoki, M., Sigala, N., Gaffan, D., & Duncan, J. (2009). Detection of fixed and variable targets in the monkey prefrontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 19, 2535-2547. Kusunoki, M., Sigala, N., Nili, H., Gaffan, D., & Duncan, J. (2010). Target detection by opponent coding in monkey prefrontal cortex. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22, 751-760.
 
Description CBU Open Day 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participation in annual CB Science Night
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description CBU Science Night 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The annual CBU Science Night describes our research to the local community
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description CBU Science Night 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Sneha Shashidhara/Moataz Assem demonstrating an experiment and explaining their science
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Cafe scientifique 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Approx 70 attendees, with active discussion and associated podcast

None
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Finnish school visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Contribution to a CBU visit by Finnish schoolchildren
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Heineken video etc 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact In association with award of the 2012 Heineken Prize in cognitive science, a video of my life and work was released on the web, and shown at a prize ceremony of the Dutch Royal Academy. At the same ceremony my work was presented to the Prince of Orange. A number of magazine articles were also produced.

None.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description How intelligence happens - articles 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Several web and magazine articles published in association with my popular science book How Intelligence Happens

None
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Interview for Dutch magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview on science of intelligence
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description July 2016 Interview (Yaara Erez) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Interview with reporter from US (Spectrum Journal)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Magazine article, New Scientist 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact N/a

None
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Palantir Geek Night 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Andrew Bell: Appearance at Geek Night for Palantir, an IT company
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Pint of Science Oxford 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Andrew Bell organized programme of Pint of Science talks across psychology and zoology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Primary schools: Neuroscience talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Yaara Erez: A primary school talk on neuroscience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Public lecture, RSA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Around 100 people attended a lunchtime presentation/Q and A session concerning brain processes of intelligence.

Copies of popular science book sold to participants.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description School visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Contribution to a CBU visit by local 6th form students
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Teaching Film (OU) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Keynote/Invited Speaker
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact A new film is made for Open University teaching on "Intelligence"

None
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description occasional media consultation/interviews 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact I occasionally consult on media presentations, or appear directly

None
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010