UK: Ph.D. in EEG/fMRI

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A Ph.D. position in EEG/fMRI is available at the University of Dundee, under the direction of Douglas Potter.

Spatial and temporal imaging of attention reorienting mechanisms

A collaborative project between the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh
and Glasgow

As part of the Scottish Imaging Initiative – SINAPSE

Background: Fox et al. (Fox et al., 2005) hypothesize that a dorsal
‘goal-driven’ attention network controls environmentally directed
processes (perception and action) and a ‘default network’ controls
internally directed processes (memory and introspection). Within this
model it is hypothesised that a ventral ‘stimulus-driven’ network
facilitates reorientation in goal-driven attention as well as between
internally and externally directed processing modes. We have
demonstrated abnormal patterns of brain activity in both the goal-driven
and stimulus-driven networks in individuals with a history of mild
concussion (Potter et al., 2001) and in patients diagnosed with
schizophrenia (Potter et al., 2008). These abnormalities may result from
reduced effectiveness of frontal control caused by diffuse
neurotransmitter imbalances (Rolls et al., 2008). The planned research
will extend our previous work by providing a better understanding of the
role of the stimulus-driven system in switching between goal-driven and
default processing modes.

Aims: To better characterise the function of the stimulus-driven system
by determining the effects of task load and distractor contingency on
the temporal relationships between the components of the stimulus-driven
system. To better characterise the function of the stimulus-driven
system by inducing more explicit switching and maintenance of processing

Method: Combine fMRI and EEG to visualise selective activation or
suppression of posterior and anterior components of the
‘stimulus-driven’ control system while participants perform a
number decision paradigm in which the temporal and spatial relationship
of goal elevant and distractor stimuli are systematically manipulated.

Outcome: The development of optimised, inexpensive (EEG), measures of
cognitive control for use in the assessment of pharmacological efficacy
in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression and mild cognitive

Deadline for final electronic submission via the primary supervisor
January 31st 2009

Address informal enquiries to the first supervisor:
Dr Douglas Potter
School of Psychology,
University of Dundee
Email:             phone: 01382 384632

Dr Cyril Pernet
Division of Clinical Neurosciences, SFC Brain Imaging Centre
Western General Hospital,
University of Edinburgh 
Email:                  phone: 01315373661
Dr Guillaume Rousselet
Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (CCNi) & Department of Psychology
University of Glasgow
Email:          phone: 01413306652

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