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Poster F22

Decoding EEG Correlates of Willed Overt Attention During Visual Search

Poster Session F - Tuesday, April 16, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

John Nadra1,2 (, Jesse Bengson2, Mingzhou Ding3, George Mangun1,2; 1University of California, Davis, 2Center for Mind and Brain, Davis, CA, 3University of Florida

Cognitive neuroscience studies of attention have predominantly investigated top-down attention using attention-directing cues. Recent work has begun to investigate self-generated (uncued) shifts of covert spatial attention (willed covert attention). Here we consider the neural correlates of willed overt attention. Studies of willed overt attention share some properties with research on self-generated motor actions (willed action). In willed action, a well-established finding is that neural correlates of an action can be identified seconds prior to the onset of action. In an overt attention visual search paradigm that required a motor action (saccadic eye movements) upon the onset of a search array, we investigated whether the direction of a first saccade from central fixation can be predicted by the pattern of brain electrical activity in the period prior to the onset of the search array and the subsequent first saccade. Applying support vector machine decoding to EEG voltage data, we found that the direction of the first saccade can be decoded throughout the 2 sec period before the onset of the search array. This finding suggests that (1) in willed overt attention, the predictive EEG patterns were not limited to alpha-band power as hypothesized from prior work on willed covert attention, but were found in the broadband EEG voltage data, and (2) motor actions that are not purely self-initiated can also be decoded seconds prior to the onset of the action, extending the previous studies of willed action in which the action is fully self-determined.

Topic Area: ATTENTION: Spatial


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April 13–16  |  2024