Daniel T. Smith, Principal Investigator
Daniel is an associate professor in Durham University’s Department of Psychology. His research examines the interaction between the motor system, specifically the oculomotor system, and cognitive processes such as attention and working memory, with the goal to understand how activity in the motor system helps resolve competition between different representations in the visual system. The Motor Bias project attempts to distill the ideas he has developed over several years into a coherent framework we can use to predict how and when motor activity can influence perception. Thanks to an active collaboration with Stefan and Thomas, Dan apply these findings to developing novel techniques for neurorehabilitation. He uses a variety of techniques in his research, including neuropsychological studies of people with brain injuries, lab-based studies with healthy participants, eye-tracking and neurostimulation (TMS / TDCS). Beyond the Motor Bias project, he is also interested in applying Achievement Goal Theory to understanding motivation in sport and exercise. You can follow his progress on twitter @AttentionLab.
Stefan Van der Stigchel, Principal Investigator
Stefan van der Stigchel is an associate professor at Utrecht University and head of the research group Attentionlab. The group’s aim is to study how attention and visual awareness shape the perception of the world around us. Stefan is a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and author of a recent popular science book about attention (‘Zo werkt aandacht’).
Thomas Schenck, Principal Investigator
Thomas Schenk is head of the Clinical Neuropsychology Unit at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. He is interested in the neural control of movement, the diagnosis and treatment of patients with attentional, visual and motor disorders and the long-term psychological consequences of neurological disorders. The members of the Clinical Neuropsychology unit work both with healthy humans and patients with neurological disorders; the methods employed in the Clinical Neuropsychology Unit include kinematic analysis of movements, gaze-tracking, virtual reality setups, EEG, TMS and fMRI.
Tanja Nijboer, Associate Researcher
Joris Elshout, Postdoctoral Researcher
Joris research focuses on rehabilitation of stroke patients suffering from attentional and visual deficits including hemispatial neglect and cerebral blindness (hemianopia). Using different psychophysical (e.g. eyetracking) and neuroimaging (e.g. (f)MRI) techniques his research goals are to understand the neural mechanisms that are interrupted in these patients and how interventions can improve their quality of life. Joris approach is fundamental in nature but often applied in a clinical setting, with the aim to elucidate how the human visual system can recover from stroke and make a significant contribution on healthcare for patients with attentional and visual deficits.
Soazig Casteau, Postdoctoral Researcher
Soazig did her Ph.D in the Cognitive Psychology Laboratory in Marseilles (France) under the supervision of Francoise Vitu. Then she worked with Robin Walker at Royal Holloway University of London as a postdoctoral fellow (Fondation Fyssen Postdoctoral Fellowship). Now in Durham, she is working on the psychophysical part of the project using different technics such as Eyetracking as well as TMS. She has an eager interest in Saccadic Eye Movements, Attention and Perception. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys backpacking around the world.
Maria Magdalena Vorbeck, PhD student
Maria Magdalena Vorbeck is a Dipl. psychologist and PhD student at Ludwigs Maximilians University Munich. In October 2016 she started her PhD under professor Thomas Schenk’s supervision. During her studies (University Koblenz Landau and Heidelberg) she gained insights into: psychopathology, clinical, economic (Hong Kong) and research psychology (London), to name just a few stations, which helped her to find her main interest: neuropsychology. From 2015 to 2016 she worked as a clinical neuropsychologist (stroke, MS and brain injury patients). In this project Maria is most curious to learn more about the relationship between hand movements and static as well as dynamic properties of attention and working with parkinson patients. Away from the office, she enjoys working out. She used to be a competetive swimmer and waterpolo player (first division in U.K. and Germany).
Elias Topfstedt, PhD student
After graduating from the University of Vienna with a diploma degree in Psychology, Elias started to work as a doctoral student in the research team of Prof. Thomas Schenk at the LMU Munich in September 2016. During his study time in Austria, he gained insights in clinical neuropsychology, worked from 2011 to 2015 in the field of psychological assessment and cognitive training (Schuhfried, Austria), and was able to focus his studies on his two major fields of interest: cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In this current research project, Elias is therefore particularly interested in gaining further knowledge of the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying visual spatial attention as a fundamental prerequisite of our brain to deal with its limited processing capacity. To achieve this goal, Elias and the German team are aiming to examine the coupling between target-oriented movements (i.e., eye and pointing movements) and covert attention by using eye tracking as well as a haptic device. In addition, they are planning to test this relationship within a group of Parkinson patients.
Silvia Jakobi, PhD student
Since September 2016, Silvia is a research fellow and PhD student at the Chair of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universtät in Munich. Holding a Master’s degree in Diagnostic & Training, with the focus on Human Movement Science, and having a deeper knowledge of motion analysis in movement disorders (e.g. gait analysis in patients with neurological disease and motion analysis of the golfer’s yips), she add this expertise to broaden the perspective of the project.