Electrophysiological correlates of efficient visual search

Background

There are many instances where the ability to find a target can have important societal consequences. There is a great value in identifying individuals who are good at detecting cancer on radiological scans or baggage screening situations. The current projects aims to identify the electrophysiological correlates that differentiate good searchers from poor searchers. Identifying these correlates may help us:

  1. identify what aspects of processing information are critical in determining success during visual search
  2. identify individuals who may be more likely to excel at tasks that require excellent visual search performance.

Student Role

The student will primarily aid in data collection and analysis. Data collection will involve recording EEG data from subjects as they engage in a series of challenging visual search tasks. Analysis will involve using matlab to clean EEG data, then analyze the resultant data. We use a variety of analysis methods. The student will be involved in computing Event-related potentials (ERPs) in response to the onset of visual information. We will also be examining whether ongoing oscillatory in the EEG prior to onset of information predicts resultant performance. Future experiments may involve manipulating the onset of information so that it appears during a time when the subject appears best able to process information in order to determine if doing so results in improved performance.

Outcomes

We expect that any student that participates in this opportunity will complete a final presentation for the lab based on what they have learned during their time in the lab. Summer students are generally treated as if they are visiting graduate students. As such, this will be a good experience for students who are trying to determine whether they want to go to graduate school. They will gain valuable experience with a number of techniques that will be valuable to potential graduate students, such as capping EEG participants, using an eye-tracker, cleaning EEG data, analyzing ERPs and summarizing behavioral data.

Trafton Drew
Assistant Professor

Psychology
College of Social & Behavioral Science
Neuroscience Program

We expect that any student that participates in this opportunity will complete a final presentation for the lab based on what they have learned during their time in the lab. This is an addition to any additional requirements of the program. The student will be expected to be present at bi-weekly lab meetings during the summer. The student will also be expected to meet with either the PI or a senior grad student on a bi-weekly basis to ensure that the project is making sufficient progress.