The overarching goals of my research program are (1) to understand how the brain allows us to see and interact with the world through our eye and arm movements and; (2) to use this understanding to create interventions designed for people with brain or vision disorders. I propose to achieve these goals by focusing my research on three main aims.
To successfully interact with the world, we need to process visual information correctly. This can be very difficult for people with low vision, such as those with age-related macular degeneration, and can greatly decrease their quality of life. Therefore, the first aim is to understand how we process visual information and improve processing deficits for people with impaired vision.
We mainly use eye movements to process visual information because detailed information is limited to only a small part of the eye, the fovea. To perceive the world as stable and whole, we memorize information about objects every time we fixate, and we update this memorized information across eye movements. This is known as trans-saccadic memory. The second aim is to investigate how we remember visual information across eye movements, with the goal of understanding memory and perceptual deficits related to eye movements, such as neglect syndrome.
Finally, attention, which is closely related to vision, is another key component for interacting with the world. For example, we look at objects that attract our attention and, complimentarily, we attend to objects we are reaching to. This interaction is crucial for mundane activities such as washing the dishes. For this reason, attention and action deficits are at the core of some brain disorders, e.g. neglect, and can be devastating for these people's daily lives. My third research aim is to study in detail how attention interacts with planning eye and arm movements.