Science@Cal Lecture, March 2010

Our talk on March 20, 2010 was given by Prof. Michael Silver, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist, and was entitled “How attention affects what you see”.
We are continuously bombarded with an enormous amount of information entering our eyes. How do our brains extract the most relevant parts of this fire hose of information? Attention is one way the brain selects certain aspects of the environment for enhanced processing. I will discuss the effects of attention on visual perception and summarize what we know about the underlying brain mechanisms. A better understanding of the effects of attention on perception would be relevant for a wide variety of activities, including setting policy for cell phone use while driving, improving performance of airport luggage screeners, and optimizing teaching methods in the classroom.
Michael Silver is a member of the School of Optometry and the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. The research in his group is focused on the neural bases of perception, attention, and learning in the human visual system. The Silver laboratory employs brain imaging methods to track the flow of information through brain areas. His group also conducts drug studies to investigate the functions of specific neurotransmitters in vision. Other research projects include the study of visual processing in patients with schizophrenia and changes in visual perception and brain organization associated with retinal degeneration. You can watch the video of his talk by clicking on the image below.

You can also see details of the next talk in the series, and the full calendar of talks.