117 research outputs found

    ZEPHYR Tritium System

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    Novelty Enhances Visual Perception

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    The effects of novelty on low-level visual perception were investigated in two experiments using a two-alternative forced-choice tilt detection task. A target, consisting of a Gabor patch, was preceded by a cue that was either a novel or a familiar fractal image. Participants had to indicate whether the Gabor stimulus was vertically oriented or slightly tilted. In the first experiment tilt angle was manipulated; in the second contrast of the Gabor patch was varied. In the first, we found that sensitivity was enhanced after a novel compared to a familiar cue, and in the second we found sensitivity to be enhanced for novel cues in later experimental blocks when participants became more and more familiarized with the familiar cue. These effects were not caused by a shift in the response criterion. This shows for the first time that novel stimuli affect low-level characteristics of perception. We suggest that novelty can elicit a transient attentional response, thereby enhancing perception

    Modelling to bridge many boundaries: the Colorado and Murray-Darling River basins

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    Increasing pressure on shared water resources has often been a driver for the development and utilisation of water resource models (WRMs) to inform planning and management decisions. With an increasing emphasis on regional decision-making among competing actors as opposed to top-down and authoritative directives, the need for integrated knowledge and water diplomacy efforts across federal and international rivers provides a test bed for the ability of WRMs to operate within complex historical, social, environmental, institutional and political contexts. This paper draws on theories of sustainability science to examine the role of WRMs to inform transboundary water resource governance in large river basins. We survey designers and users of WRMs in the Colorado River Basin in North America and the Murray-Darling Basin in southeastern Australia. Water governance in such federal rivers challenges inter-governmental and multi-level coordination and we explore these dynamics through the application of WRMs. The development pathways of WRMs are found to influence their uptake and acceptance as decision support tools. Furthermore, we find evidence that WRMs are used as boundary objects and perform the functions of ‘boundary work’ between scientists, decision-makers and stakeholders in the midst of regional environmental changes

    Dynamic Spatial Coding within the Dorsal Frontoparietal Network during a Visual Search Task

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    To what extent are the left and right visual hemifields spatially coded in the dorsal frontoparietal attention network? In many experiments with neglect patients, the left hemisphere shows a contralateral hemifield preference, whereas the right hemisphere represents both hemifields. This pattern of spatial coding is often used to explain the right-hemispheric dominance of lesions causing hemispatial neglect. However, pathophysiological mechanisms of hemispatial neglect are controversial because recent experiments on healthy subjects produced conflicting results regarding the spatial coding of visual hemifields. We used an fMRI paradigm that allowed us to distinguish two attentional subprocesses during a visual search task. Either within the left or right hemifield subjects first attended to stationary locations (spatial orienting) and then shifted their attentional focus to search for a target line. Dynamic changes in spatial coding of the left and right hemifields were observed within subregions of the dorsal front-parietal network: During stationary spatial orienting, we found the well-known spatial pattern described above, with a bilateral hemifield representation in the right hemisphere and a contralateral preference in the left hemisphere. However, during search, the right hemisphere had a contralateral preference and the left hemisphere equally represented both hemifields. This finding leads to novel perspectives regarding models of visuospatial attention and hemispatial neglect

    Good vibrations, bad vibrations: Oscillatory brain activity in the attentional blink

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    The attentional blink (AB) is a deficit in reporting the second (T2) of two targets (T1, T2) when presented in close temporal succession and within a stream of distractor stimuli. The AB has received a great deal of attention in the past two decades because it allows to study the mechanisms that influence the rate and depth of information processing in various setups and therefore provides an elegant way to study correlates of conscious perception in supra-threshold stimuli. Recently evidence has accumulated suggesting that oscillatory signals play a significant role in temporally coordinating information between brain areas. This review focuses on studies looking into oscillatory brain activity in the AB. The results of these studies indicate that the AB is related to modulations in oscillatory brain activity in the theta, alpha, beta, and gamma frequency bands. These modulations are sometimes restricted to a circumscribed brain area but more frequently include several brain regions. They occur before targets are presented as well as after the presentation of the targets. We will argue that the complexity of the findings supports the idea that the AB is not the result of a processing impairment in one particular process or brain area, but the consequence of a dynamic interplay between several processes and/or parts of a neural network

    Vulnerability and its discontents: the past, present, and future of climate change vulnerability research

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    The concept of vulnerability is well established in the climate change literature, underpinning significant research effort. The ability of vulnerability research to capture the complexities of climate-society dynamics has been increasingly questioned, however. In this paper, we identify, characterize, and evaluate concerns over the use of vulnerability approaches in the climate change field based on a review of peer-reviewed articles published since 1990 (n = 587). Seven concerns are identified: neglect of social drivers, promotion of a static understanding of human-environment interactions, vagueness about the concept of vulnerability, neglect of cross-scale interactions, passive and negative framing, limited influence on decision-making, and limited collaboration across disciplines. Examining each concern against trends in the literature, we find some of these concerns weakly justified, but others pose valid challenges to vulnerability research. Efforts to revitalize vulnerability research are needed, with priority areas including developing the next generation of empirical studies, catalyzing collaboration across disciplines to leverage and build on the strengths of divergent intellectual traditions involved in vulnerability research, and linking research to the practical realities of decision-making
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