Brain Imaging Seminar Series: Kenneth Hugdahl. 3pm Georgia State, 1199 Urban Life

Attention and cognitive control: Clinical and brain imaging data

Kenneth Hugdahl, University of Bergen and Haukeland University Hospital, Norway

Executive resources are recruited in situations of bottom-up and top-down processing conflicts. A problem with traditional neuropsychological approaches is, however, that the concept of executive function is treated like a binary concept, such as when cognitive conflict induced by the Stroop test is considered either present or absent. We have developed a new experimental paradigm for quantifying cognitive conflict and associated demands on executive resources on a continuous scale, based on the so-called “forced-attention” dichotic listening task. By systematically varying the intensity of stimuli presented to the left or right ears, it is possible to gradually increase or decrease the amount of cognitive conflict, and thereby quantify the degree of executive impairment in different clinical groups and conditions. Behavioral and fMRI data will be used to compare various neurological and psychiatric disorders on a continuum of increasing executive attention control and impairment, with outcomes that could have implications for diagnostics and treatment.