Visual Cognition Lab

James E. Hoffman

Research

Current Research

Multiple Object Tracking

MULTIPLE OBJECT TRACKING

Multiple object tracking (MOT) is involved in a number of everyday activities such as team sports and driving. Surprisingly, research indicates that people can only accurately track up to about four objects. Tran and Hoffman (in press), funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, recently showed that this tracking limitation results from a limited supply of attention that is divided among the tracked objects. Failures of tracking often occur when visual attention is captured by irrelevant, salient visual objects or when dual-task demands exceed attentional capacity.
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EMOTION-INDUCED BLINDNESS (EIB)

EIB refers to impaired awareness of visual information appearing soon after presentation of a task-irrelevant, emotional picture (e.g., a threatening animal, a bloody face, etc.). Together with colleagues at the University of New South Wales in Australia, the Hoffman lab showed that this impaired awareness is related to brain activity in visual areas of the brain that occurs approximately a quarter of a second after presentation of the emotional picture. We are continuing to explore the mechanisms responsible for this fascinating  phenomenon using ERP and behavioral methods.
coma

PREDICT RECOVERY FROM COMA USING EEG

The Hoffman lab is collaborating with Christiana Medical Center to use EEG measures of attention and awareness to predict the course of recovery in patients in the acute coma state.  Finally, the Hoffman lab, funded by a pilot grant from the Delaware Center for Translational Research, is collaborating with Christiana Medical Center to use EEG measures of attention and awareness to predict the course of recovery in patients in the acute coma state.
wandering

THE ROLE OF “MIND WANDERING” IN STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT

We often catch ourselves thinking about something else when we are reading a book, listening to a lecture., etc., a phenomenon known as “mind wandering”. The Hoffman lab is collaborating with Roberta Golinkoff and Vinaya Rajan of the UD College of Education to develop objective measures of mind wandering based on eye movements, pupil diameter, and EEG. Our long-term goal is to understand the relationship between mind-wandering and academic achievement in order to improve attentional focus in the classroom and workplace.
Collaborators: Roberta Golinkoff, Vinaya Rajan