Attention control is the interplay of processes that determine what we attend to and what we ignore. My research aims to understand the brain mechanisms that govern these processes. Attention control has tremendous influence on daily life. Our ability to focus and ignore distractions impacts school and work performance, and in this way impacts personal success. It dictates self-control, our ability to resist distraction or temptation and do "something else”. It contributes to meta-awareness, our ability to observe our own behaviors and make appropriate changes.
By understanding the dynamics of attention control processes we may be better able to provide concrete strategies for rehabilitation of depression, ADHD, and addiction. The supposedly increasing “inattentiveness” and “multi-tasking” that plagues the technology-overloaded generations of the Western world will inevitably have direct effects on the future health and norms of society.
- Mechanisms: What are the neural dynamics - time course and within network interactions - by which attending and ignoring is implemented in the brain? What is the contribution of other systems, such as those that determine internal states (e.g., fatigue, anxiety, arousal, vigilance) to these neural dynamics?
- Deficits: By what mechanisms can attention control be disrupted, contributing to deficits such as ADHD (collaborating with Dr. Sandra Loo)? How is attention control sustained for prolonged periods of time? How and why does it get disrupted?
- Rehabilitation: How can attention control mechanisms be improved, such as through training (collaborating with Dr. G. Simpson) or relaxation (e.g., yoga, meditation, exercise)?
To answer these question I combine multi-modal neuroimaging technology (f/MRI, EEG) with multivariate analytical techniques. I am currently working with Dr. Mark Cohen to evaluate the utility of simultaneously recorded fMRI and EEG for analytically delineating the spatio-temporal profile of neural activity.
- Lenartowicz, A., Simpson, G.V., Cohen, M.S., (2014), Neurophysiological signals of ignoring and attending are separable, and related to performance during sustained inter-sensory attention. J Cog Neuro. Sep; 26(9): 2055-69. PMID: 24666167.
- Lenartowicz, A., Simpson, G.V., Cohen, M.S., (2013). Perspective: Causes and functional significance of temporal variations in attention control. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 7:381. PMID: 23888135
- Lenartowicz, A., Loo, S.K., (2014), Use of EEG to Diagnose ADHD. 16(11). Curr Psy Reports.
Loo, S.K., Lenartowicz, A., Makeig, S., (2015), Research Review: use of EEG biomarkers in child psychiatry research - current state and future directions. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2015 Jun 23. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12435. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 26099166
- Lenartowicz, A., Walshaw, P., McCracken, J.T., McGough, J., Delorme, A., Makeig,S., Loo, S.K., (2014), EEG Correlates of spatial working memory in ADHD. J Neurosci. 34(4). 1171-1182. PMID: 23888135