One line of research in the lab involves comparing cognitive control over distractor information from the external world (e.g., words presented on a computer monitor) with control over distractor information being held in working memory (e.g., ignore a word being held in memory while performing another cognitive task). We are working on comparing forward-looking (proactive) and backward-looking (reactive) aspects of cognitive control with behavioral (e.g., reaction time) and neural (e.g., electrical brain responses, EEG) measures of the influence of ingored information during performance of a cognitive task.
Students in the lab typically work on lab projects, but also are free to work on their own projects. Students have worked on projects that examine EEG markers associated with computer game play, and with a decision to halt memory retrieval initiated by environmental cues (e.g., retrieval of a negative memory triggered by a current event in the environment). Recent student work has also used EEG techniques to measure activity of brain networks associated with a focused cognitive task and with mind-wandering in expert meditators and people who have never meditated.