It has been traditionally thought that attention to objects leads to their semantic processing and ulterior access to consciousness and later memory retrieval. This would be the “attention leading to semantic processing” hypothesis. In the current talk, however, I will show evidence supporting an alternative “semantic processing leading to attention” hypothesis. I will describe data from several experiments using a change detection paradigm, in which we manipulated the semantic congruity between the to-be-detected object and the background scene, showing that attentional capture by incongruent semantic processing can occur before the objects are consciously detected. Object-context semantic congruity affects objects’ detection, identification and later memory. I will describe the role of TPJ in establishing the semantic context over which congruent objects are more difficult to detect but more easily identified and later remembered.
Juan Lupiáñez received his PhD in Psychology by the University of Granada, in 1996. He is currently Full Professor of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Granada, where he is the director of the Cognitive Neuroscience research group. He is currently president of the Spanish Society of Experimental Psychology (SEPEX). Most of his research deals with different aspects of Cognitive Neuroscience in general, and in particular with Attention and its relation to other processes such as Emotion, Learning and Memory, Spatial Processing and Consciousness.
Professor Van der Lubbe received his PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in psychology in 1997. He is currently an associate professor at the University of Twente (Netherlands) as well as a visiting professor at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Poland). In his scientific research his main focus revolves around psychophysics, psychophysiology and cognitive psychology especially neuronal correlates of spatial attention as well as the influence of attention and focus on stimuli processing.
Professor Francesco Battaglia is an associate professor at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmengen, Neatherlands. His work has concentrated on neural ensemble recordings in freely behaving rodents (rats and mice), with which we can record up to ~100 single neurons. He focused on the interaction between hippocampus and neocortex, in memory encoding and consolidation. He developed data analysis techniques to detect the activation of synchronized neuronal groups ('cell assemblies'). In mice, we are currently studying the behavior of hippocampal place cells and hippocampal oscillatory dynamics in several transgenic models of impaired synaptic function (NMDA CA1 KO, developed in S. Tonegawa’s lab at the MIT) and of Fragile-X mental retardation (from B. Oostra’s lab, Rotterdam), with a miniaturized micro-drive developed in-house (Battaglia et al. 2008).