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Polly Peers
Research staff, Executive processes group
01223 355294

The visual world is very complex and we can't possibly process all the information available to us. The healthy brain is quickly able to prioritise what visual information is most relevant to us and our ongoing behaviour and devote resources to processing relevant or important stimuli at the cost less important stimuli. This ability to attend to relevant visual information is key to successful functioning in such a rich visual world.

A common consequence of brain injury is a disruption of attentional processes. A most striking example of this is observed in patients with visual neglect. These patients appear unable to attend to one side of space, thus they can be observed to bump into things, dress only one side of their bodies and eat only the food on one side of their plates for example. These impairments are associated with poor recovery and at present there appears little effective treatment for these impairments.

My research focuses on applying models that have been developed to explain normal variability in attentional processes to better understand the effects of brain damage, to see whether we can improve patients functioning by training attentional skills and to gain a better understanding of the relationship between structural damage and functional impairment. Currently, in collaboration with John Duncan, Duncan Astle and Tom Manly, we are working on a project which aims to see we can ameliorate the impairments in neglect patients with training programs focussed on improving selective attention and visual working memory.

CBSU publications