This motor bias project is a collaboration aimed at characterizing the interaction between attention, memory and the motor system. Inspired by the claim that movement preparation influences attention, we set out to explore specific conditions under which activation of the eye-movement system influences covert mental processes such as attention and working memory. Unlike theories such as Klein’s (1980) Oculomotor Readiness Hypothesis and Rizzolatti et al’s (1987) Premotor Theory, we propose a stochastic relationship between motor planning, attention & memory such that attention is more likely to be allocated to movement goals when
- The same goal is being selected by more than one effector system,
- The movement is close to being initiated
- The organism is confident that the movement will reliably acquire the desired target.
- There is uncertainty about the location of task-relevant stimuli
Understanding the how the motor system interacts with attention & memory will also inform the development of novel diagnostic and rehabilitation tool for patients with neurological impairments associated with stroke, Parkinson’s Disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.
This project began as a collaboration between Daniel T. Smith & Soazig Casteau (Durham University, UK), Thomas Schenk (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany) and Stefan Van der Stigchel (Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands) funded by an Open Research Area grant via ESRC, NWO and DfG (2015-2018 info here). In 2019 Siobhan joined the team on an ESRC NINEDTP PhD studentship to work on the role of eye-movements in spatial short-term memory and in 2022 Dr Alexis Cheviet joined to work on a project funded by The Dunhill Medical Trust to examine whether cognitive tests can differentiate PSP and parkinson’s disease with Dr Neil Archibald (South Tees NHS Foundation Trust) and .
You can find more information about each of us by visiting the people page and keep up to date with our progress on our News/Blog page or by following us on Twitter: @AttentionLab, @SoazigCasteau, @Svanderstigchel, @TanjaNijboer, @SiobhanMcAteer4