The overall aim is to build on the currently separate groups with specialization in mind/brain sciences in Trento Province by bringing these groups together to build a strong, interdisciplinary team working together on basic and applied research in attention that will have a large impact on the social and economic context of the Province
One goal of this project is to use converging methods to better characterize the brain mechanisms of attention. We will focus on how attention changes the interaction between different brain networks. Although it has been suggested that shared attention must involve an alignment of brain states of attention between brains, we will be the first to systematically study and quantify this brain-to-brain alignment.
A second goal of this project is to apply this state-of-the-art model of attention for development of new strategies to diagnose, treat or rehabilitate attention deficits. In the case of treatment and rehabilitation, we will develop three projects on applied research. First, we will train normal participants to use attention more effectively in visual search tasks. Second, we will use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to relieve visual extinction symptoms in stroke patients. Third, we will develop training methods to understand and reduce the degree to which addiction-related stimuli attract attention.
A third goal of the project is to tackle the challenge of detecting attention- related neurotransmitters in real time. Neurotransmitter systems have been implicated in attention and other cognitive states, and are central to understanding and treating disorders of brain function.
An additional aim of this project is to create a strong network in life sciences that brings together the disparate resources in Trentino to focus on a core problem in neuroscience and cognition.