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The role of the parietal lobe in attention, spatial processing, and optic flow.

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Recent fMRI evidence collected in my lab suggests that the function of some parts of the parietal lobe are currently misunderstood. Part of the superior parietal lobule that is often considered to be involved in the “allocation of attention” (among other things), in fact encodes the visual separation between two objects. This is a parameter that is utilised in the visual control of several common everyday tasks such as reaching to grasp an object and steering a car. Turning to the ventral intraparietal area (VIP) there is a consensus in the literature that this area is involved in processing the patterns of optic flow that occur during self-motion. However, our investigations reveal that it has much stronger responses to the motion of objects than visual signals produced by the motion of the self, and that the response to optic flow in this area is probably no greater than that to general visual stimulation. The challenge in this PhD project is to build a strong evidence base to support (or refute) these ideas. Methodology could include TMS and fMRI, as well as studies of patients with damage to the superior parietal lobule, which produces Balint’s syndrome. There have been many attempts to explain the problems experienced in Balint’s syndrome, but in fact these patients exhibit deficits that are consistent with the hypothesis that they can’t encode the visual separation between objects. Contact

Funding Notes

2(i) or above in Biology, Psychology, Mathematics, Computer Science, Philosophy and MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience


2 (i) or above in Biology, Psychology, Mathematics, Computer Science, Philosophy and MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience

How good is research at University of Reading in Psychology, Psychiatry and Neuroscience?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 40.15

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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