The Neural Correlates Of Allocation Of Attention And Goal Directed Eye Movements

The Neural Correlates Of Allocation Of Attention And Goal Directed Eye Movements

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Research Statement
Dr. Mir Pour’s research is focused on the neural correlates of allocation of attention and goal directed eye movements in the brain. Eye movements are our most efficient tool in exploring and interacting with the environment around us. They bring the most important events of the visual scene to the fovea for enhanced processing. This can be interpreted as a form of visual attention. One of the areas that contribute to the guidance of the allocation of attention is the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) of posterior parietal cortex of the brain. Dr. Mir Pour work on the neural mechanisms of attention suggested that the responses of LIP neurons represent a map of the visual scene in a way that the peak response of the map represents the most important object in the visual scene. His ongoing project is focused on the representation of value and decision process for saccade goal selection in the frontoparietal cortical network which is the extension of the attentional priority model that we established in posterior parietal cortex to a global model of attention allocation in frontoparietal network.
Dr. Mir Pour started his research in 2007 at UCLA testing the hypothesis that the lateral intraparietal area (LIP) in posterior parietal cortex of the brain was the responsible brain faculty for prioritizing the allocation of attention. To directly access the brain activity during complex cognitive behaviors, Dr. Mir Pour trained non-human primates (macaque monkeys) on variety of visual tasks and recorded from their brain cells using microelectrode techniques while the animals were performing the task (a brief specification of the technique is mentioned later).
Dr. Mir Pour stablished a model of attention allocation syst...


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... wired together and how information is reverberated in a local circuit. Studying the interaction of the multiple brain areas lead us to understanding of complicated brain processes and eventually the human perception and behavior.
This technique can also be used in recognizing the disorders of the brain. In some cases using deep brain electrodes can be used in treatment of patients by implanting chronic electrodes inside the impaired areas of the brain and activating or inactivating the brain areas.
However this technique is very invasive and the use of it in humans is limited to the patients that cannot benefit from any other ways of treatment. Obviously, it is not reasonable to use this technique in healthy humans for sole purpose of research. On the other hand the perceptual and attentional circuits of the macaque monkeys are incredibelly similar to human brains.

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