What can we learn about visual selective attention by applying implicit neurofeedback training to alter its neural signatures?
The amount of visual information available in the environment at any moment is vast, and distinct visual inputs must compete for the brain’s limited processing resources. Visual selective attention resolves this competition by prioritising those visual inputs that are most likely to be relevant for guiding an organism’s behaviour. Selective attention acts across multiple levels of visual processing and interacts with a range of other processes in support of visual perception, recognition and action. Neurofeedback protocols, in which an individual’s ongoing brain activity is shown to them near real-time, have the potential to build upon foundational research by determining how perception and action are impacted when participants are trained to directly control neural signatures of visual selective attention. In a series of studies I have shown that neural signatures of selective attention can be trained using implicit neurofeedback. In this work I used a combination of behavioural and neural measures to investigate how neurofeedback affects the manner in which visual information is processed and acted upon. These findings have important theoretical implications for models of attention, and have potential applications in training cognitive function in health and disease.
Angela Renton is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in a joint position between the Queensland Brain Institute and the School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at the University of Queensland, Australia. She recently completed her PhD investigating how neurofeedback training protocols can be applied to investigate perceptual processes, and is now continuing this research with a specific focus of visual selective attention supported by a grant by the Australian Government Defence Science and Technology group. In addition to her research on visual attention, Angela also works on the Neurodesk platform; developing containerised environments for reproducible and accessible neuroimaging data analysis (https://neurodesk.github.io/). When she’s not in the lab, Angela can usually be found outdoors rock-climbing or hiking.