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Perceptual load and neural competition. Determinant factors in selective attention (LoadATCMC08)
Start date: Jun 15, 2009, End date: Feb 21, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Perceptual load theory has been credited with solving the long-standing debate in Psychology about the locus of selection. According with this theory, the degree to which distracting information can be ignored depends on the perceptual load of the task, or the extent to which the task exhausts perceptual capacity. However, there is currently no a priori definition of what constitutes high or low perceptual load. Here I propose a new framework to formalize perceptual resources according to the local competitive interactions that happen in the visual cortex and that modulate the representation of the information. I aim to explore the role of these competitive interactions in determining attentional selection. Moreover, I propose to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying perceptual load-based selection. The proposal represents a novel approach to the study of selective processing and limits of capacity in the human brain by integrating behavioral, fMRI and TMS methods
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