A significant amount of research has investigated the underlying neural mechanisms that enable the direction of attention throughout a search array. The biased competition model (Desimone & Duncan, 1995) proposes that an attentional template (the neural instantiation of the search target) is created when the target representation in visual working memory (VWM) is communicated to frontal regions which then bias early visual areas to attend to target features. Despite this, much of the current work focuses solely on the target representation in VWM, which is only one small part of the attentional template according to biased competition. Thus, I used functional connectivity analyses, to examine theta-gamma coupling across the brain, to validate the biased competition model and add to recent work that focuses exclusively on VWM. My results show that frontal to posterior theta-gamma phase-amplitude coupling is a measure of the attentional template. Greater phase-amplitude coupling was consistently observed on trials in which attention, as measured by early search eye movements, was directed towards the target rather than a distractor and was associated with superior target recognition. These findings demonstrate that frontal to posterior biasing of early visual areas is a critical neural mechanism of the attentional template.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Human Factors Cognitive Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Miuccio, Michael, "Locating the Attentional Template Using Theta-Gamma Coupling" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1617.
Restricted to the UCF community until May 2024; it will then be open access.