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Visual Search and Cognitive Control of the Speed-Accuracy Trade-off


The visual environment in our daily life contains many objects, yet only a few of them are relevant for our behavior. In recent
decades, our understanding of how we are able to find relevant objects has made substantial progress, in terms of both
behaviour and its underlying neural basis. This progress is mainly based on the visual search paradigm where participants
are asked to find a target object among non-target objects on a computer screen. Despite this progress, an important aspect
of visual search has been neglected, the cognitive control of the ubiquitous speed-accuracy trade-off (SAT, i.e. we are likely
to miss targets if we aim for fast responses). We can exert this control depending on many factors (e.g. motivation,
situational context, etc.) and its flexibility undoubtedly contributed to our survival as a species. Despite this importance, few
studies have investigated cognitive control of SAT in visual search. VISSATO aims to close this gap by employing a set of
highly interdisciplinary research lines with experimental and computational modeling techniques. VISSATO will also draw on
recent progress on SAT in the related field of perceptual decision making. This field typically examines how we make
decisions about perceptual characteristics of single objects (e.g. the motion direction of noisy motion patterns). VISSATO will
develop a novel visual search task which allows us to tap into cognitive control of SAT and conduct EEG studies with this
task. VISSATO will also develop novel biophysical models of these experiments, testing different hypotheses about the
control mechanisms. Using the latest advances in Bayesian model evaluation (including EEG source reconstruction)
VISSATO will determine which of these novel models best explains the empirical data, thereby providing strong evidence on
how the cognitive control of SAT in the processing of visual scenes is implemented in the brain.


Net EU contribution
€ 195 454,80
B15 2TT Birmingham
United Kingdom

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West Midlands (England) West Midlands Birmingham
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00