In a couple of weeks time I’m aiming to complete the David Lloyd Lincoln Sprint Triathlon in benefit of Parkinsons UK. You can sponsor me here
Much of my published research over the years has looked at how eye movements are affected in Parkinsons during cognitively demanding tasks such as problem solving, rule learning and task switching (see earlier post). In the long term its possible my research could help to develop tests to improve earlier detection of the condition. But what research papers can’t get across is what amazingly nice people Parkinsons patients are and how positive they are about helping with research.
Because of this I wanted to make at least a token effort to raise awareness and provide a direct benefit by doing my Triathlon in aid of Parkinsons UK.
We currently have a fully funded studentship opportunity available to examine how we direct attention to social cues in the real world. Supervised by Dr Frouke Hermens and myself the project will involve using a mobile eye tracking system. The work builds on earlier work by Frouke, myself and my former PhD student Nicola Gregory (now at Bournemouth) looking at how socio-biological cues such as eye gaze direction and pointing finger cues direct attention in an automatic way.
See here for more details of the project and earlier posts on my work with Nicola on socio-biological cueing here
For the last 2 years I have been working with the WESC Foundation in Exeter to develop a computer game to improve vision in children and young people with partial visual loss. In EyeLander you play the role of a character (The “EyeLander”) who must escape from an island using her visual skills. You have to make your way through a series of challenges to escape the erupting volcano, including dodging lava, an angry cow and a giant laughing baby! The only way to get through them to your boat is to find various coloured target shapes hidden amongst distracting items on the screen.
Although based closely on visual search training that has been shown to be effective in adults with hemianopia (see earlier post), EyeLander is unique in that is has been developed in collaboration with children at WESC and social computing researchers from Lincoln’s Computer Science department, adopting a user centred design approach. We believe this will make visual search training more effective and fun for children and even adults with visual field loss.
We will be evaluating the effectiveness of the game over the next few months and are interested in hearing from you if you suffer from any form of partial visual loss and would be willing to take part in the evaluation. We are also seeking involvement from children in the South West with normal vision to take part in the research by playing the game and being an EyeLander!
Please contact myself (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Jonathan Waddington (JWaddington@wescfoundation.ac.uk tel:01392 454200) if you would like to know more or take part in the research.
The Lincoln Eyelink Lab (a.k.a. Lab E1) promises to be a busy place this summer. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Scheme (UROS) students Daniel Richardson and Jade Pickering will be working in the lab between July and August alongside two eye movement researchers from Turkey.
Daniel Richardson is examining the “neuroeconomics” of reward and eye movements. Together we are developing a task in which participants learn mappings between target stimuli and points rewards. We are interested in whether the learned reward value of stimuli might subtley modify the kinematics (speed and accuracy) of eye movements made towards them.
Jade Pickering will be assisting with my investigations of oculomotor and cognitive studies in people with Parkinsons later in the summer as well as collecting some pilot data for the GPSAC project using the Ober saccadometer device.
PhD research student Murat Ozger will be continuing to develop his work on visual attention and eye movements in Crime Scene Investigation settings (see YouTube video).
We are also joined by visiting researcher Aycem Ozturk (Dokus Eylul University, Izmir, Turkey) who is in the UK to learn about the Eyelink 1000 system and to further develop her research into oculomotor function in Parkinsons and dementia.
It is exciting for me to be working in such a busy team of researchers this year and I am sure it will be a rewarding summer!
Our 2012 fMRI “Neuro-economics” study of a Coordination / Temptation game scenario, carried out in collaboration with Milan based social philosopher Francesco Guala has been given an award as one of the Top 10 all time classic papers published in the APA publication JNPE. I am looking forward to traveling to Munich to accept the award at the NeuroPsychoEconomics conference at Ludwig-Maximillian University at the end of May.
Abstract of paper
More about the conference
Psychology News Blog
And previous posts