The ATTEND project (Characterizing and improving brain mechanisms of attention) is funded by a 'Grandi Progetti' grant awarded by the Italian province of Trentino. The project began in September 2013. 

We spend most of our time in cluttered environments made up of a multitude of objects in different locations. Out of this overwhelming sensory input, our brain must select which information to use to guide action and thought. The mechanisms by which our brain does this are called “selective attention”. Such mechanisms are used routinely, and when impaired they can have debilitating effects. Selection is thought to involve the activation of relevant information and the inhibition of irrelevant information.

Given the critical importance of selective attention in everyday life for guiding our perceptions, actions, thoughts and memories, characterizing the brain mechanisms of attention is a major goal in mind/brain sciences. Understanding brain mechanisms for attention also has numerous applications, especially with regard to disorders of attention.

In this project, we aim to make significant progress in the study of attention by:

  • Creating a parsimonious model of the neural mechanisms of attention,
  • Improving our ability to measure attention effects in the brain,
  • Extending our understanding of attention in single brains to the important social phenomenon of shared attention
  • Using this knowledge to develop new rehabilitation and training methods for clinical and non-clinical populations
  • Developing a new method to detect patterns of release of attention-related neurotransmitters in the brain.


Besides the ATTEND project, click here to see other work by David Melcher's Active Perception Lab: MAP


Scientific Coordinator

Prof.David Melcher

david.melcher [at] unitn.it

Project administrator

Laura Stefanelli

laura.stefanelli [at] unitn.it


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Funding by the Autonomous Province of Trento

Provincia autonoma di Trento-Stemma-ai

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