Talk series “Neurocognition & Work”

Date(s) - 02/01/2023 - 05/31/2023
16:00 - 17:00

When: Tuesdays, 4 pm CET

What started as an adaption to the circumstances during the pandemic, has turned out to be an excellent opportunity to engage in scientific exchange with scientist from all over the world. Hence, the Department of Ergonomics will continue to host a talk series. Interested guests are welcome to join. The lectures take place online via Zoom or/and on site at IfADo in Dortmund.

Representing the variety of research topics investigated in our department, the invited talks will range from basic research on attention, working memory or perception to more applied topics related to cognitive neuro-ergonomics or human machine-interaction. Please see details on the upcoming talks and topics below. Talks will be approximately 45 minutes, followed by a discussion.


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Updates will also be shared on Twitter: Follow Dr. Laura Klatt (@LoraKlatt) or the official IfADo account (@ifado_info) to be reminded of upcoming talks.


Feb 14, online: Prof. Dr. Peter Shepherdson, University of Akureyri (Iceland): The ins and outs of visual working memory

Our ability to remember is typically conceptualised as depending on the successful encoding, maintenance, and retrieval of information. Despite its limited capacity and transitory nature, visual working memory is no exception to this general framework. Here I discuss the results of research bearing upon the functioning of each of these processes in visual WM. First, I present the case for a two-stage model of the encoding of feature bindings into visual WM which reconciles seemingly contradictory prior experimental and computational modelling results. Second, I describe experimental evidence of the effects of visual distractors on VWM maintenance, suggesting that distractor novelty (and, in particular, the novelty of a distractor’s binding) impacts our ability to retain task-relevant information. Finally, I show that selection of information in VWM, and its use in goal-directed behaviour, are distinct and separable processes, and outline the potential architectures according to which these processes might be organised. These strands of research can be combined to produce a picture of visual WM as a system in which flexibility plays a vital role, but is at once an asset for effective behaviour, and a vulnerability that can undermine it.

Feb 28, online: Prof. Dr. Nicole Long, University of Virginia: The intersection of memory brain states and the attention system

To successfully remember, you must both encode – form a representation – and retrieve – access that representation. Prior work has shown that encoding and retrieval recruit distinct hippocampal circuitry which prevents simultaneous engagement of both processes and suggests that the two processes tradeoff. However, sometimes we are faced with the demand to both encode and retrieve. Imagine running into a colleague at a conference whom you don’t immediately recognize. You can either encode your current conversation or you can try to retrieve their name, but you will be unable to do both simultaneously. In this talk, I will discuss findings showing how multivariate decoding of cortical signals can be used to distinguish encoding and retrieval and how these memory states relate to attentional processes. By leveraging whole-brain spectral data from scalp electroencephalography and network activity patterns from fMRI, we can decode whether participants are engaging an encoding or retrieval state. These states impact stimulus processing by shifting the cortical location in which stimuli are represented and can impair later memory when engaging in retrieval comes at the expense of encoding. Finally, by employing cross-study multivariate decoding, we find that the retrieval state is modulated by internal attention demands. Specifically, we applied a mnemonic state classifier to an independent spatial attention dataset. We find that as internal attention demands increase, so too does evidence that participants engage the retrieval state, providing support for the interpretation that internal attention constitutes a core process of the retrieval state. Together, these findings suggest a central role for memory brain states in cognition through modulation of downstream processes and behaviors.


Past Talks:

  • Dr. Louise C. Barne, The French Aerospace Lab ONERA: Enhanced neural processing of attended stimuli –  decoding the content under spatial and temporal attention (recording on YouTube)
  • Dr Blaire Dube, Ohio State University: Interactions between attention and visual working memory: How their circuit supports behaviour, and what happens when it fails (recording on YouTube)
  • Dr Timothy Brady, University of California, San Diego: Why intuitive theories of memory lead us wrong: memory representations are continuous strength, population-based and hierarchical (recording on YouTube)
  • Dr Monique Lorist, University of Groningen: Probabilistic feedback: what do we do with it?
  • Dr Keisuke Fukuda, University of Toronto Mississauga, Visual working memory representations are distorted by its use in perceptual comparisons (recording on YouTube)
  • Dr Julian Keil, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Brain-state dependent multisensory perception (recording on YouTube)
  • Dr Tara Behrend, Purdue University, Electronic Surveillance of Workers: Effects on Performance and Well-Being (recording on YouTube)
  • Dr Anna-Katharina Bauer, University of Oxford: Synchronisation of neural oscillations within and across sensory modalities (recording on YouTube)
  • Dr Kirsten Adam, University of California, San Diego: Trial-by-trial dynamics of attention and working memory (recording on YouTube)
  • Peter Clayson, University of South Florida, USA: Considerations and Implications of Open Science for Studies of Human Electrophysiology – the Benefits of Adopting Open Science Practices (recording on YouTube)
  • Dr. Peter Hancock, University of Central Florida: Discussion and Q&A
  • Dr. Norman Forschack, Universität Leipzig: Dynamics of Attentional Allocation during Visual Search (recording)
  • Dr. Nora Turoman, University of Geneva: Attention and memory in a multisensory world
  • Dr. Mehdi Senoussi, Ghent University: Modelling the mechanistic role of frontal theta oscillations in flexible task implementation
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Gramann, TU Berlin: Combining Mobile Brain/Body Imaging with Virtual Reality – new prospects for ecological investigations of human brain function
  • Dr. Matthew D. Bachman, University of Toronto: The dynamic interplay between attention and reward (recording on YouTube)


Scientific Contact: 
Dr. Laura Klatt
Department of Ergonomics
Phone: +49 231 1084-260