SPECS has another doctor, congratulations Sock!

SPECS PhD defense   •   15 December 2020

Today Sock Ching Low defends her PhD thesis entitled:

Giving Centre Stage to Top-Down Inhibitory Mechanisms for Selective Attention

Selective attention determines the sensory signals that are processed at higher levels at the expense of others and is biased by higher-order brain regions which anticipate task-relevant stimuli and increase neural sensitivity to them in the sensory cortex. Often, this is thought to occur through excitation of selected neurons, but some studies have suggested that it is not the full description of the process. Increasingly, evidence has pointed to an alternative, top-down inhibitory biasing mechanism. Here, we investigated such an inhibitory model of attention. We first showed how sensitivity to stimulus features known to be task-irrelevant are reduced through top-down suppression. Secondly, we demonstrated a biologically grounded spiking model’s ability to modulate information processing and benchmarked it to physiology. Lastly, we explored the interaction between the excitatory and inhibitory models of top-down attention in a foraging agent. Our results support the inhibitory model of top-down attention as a biological attentional mechanism and show how it fits into the current zeitgeist of top-down attentional mechanisms.

PhD Thesis Defense: Tuesday, December 15 @ 12:00 – 2:00 pm

This thesis defense will be held online using “Zoom” using  https://zoom.us/j/96702921532

Director thesis: Dr. Paul F.M.J. Verschure (IBEC)


President: Dr.  Rubén Moreno-Bote (UPF)

Secretary:  Dr.  Peter König (Universität Osnabrück)

Member:   Dr.  Clement Moulin-Frier (INRIA)