The Department of Computer Science at the University of Cyprus cordially invites you to the PhD Defense entitled:

Computational Modeling of Visual Selective Attention

Speaker: Kleanthis C. Neokleous
Affiliation: University of Cyprus, Cyprus
Category: PhD Defense
Location: Room 148, Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences (FST-01), 1 University Avenue, 2109 Nicosia, Cyprus (directions)
Date: Friday, May 13th, 2011
Time: 13:00-14:00 EET
Host: Christos Schizas (schizas AT

A nerocomputational model of visual selective attention was implemented in the MATLAB/SIMULINK environment and was used to account for a variety of empirical findings in the field of attention. The model is based on what is currently known about the neural basis of attention and involves two stages of processing realized as spiking neural networks (SNN). The first stage simulates the initial bottom-up competitive neural interactions among visual stimuli, while the second stage involves modulations of neural activity based on the semantic properties of the stimuli. During the progression of the neural activity in the two stages of processing, the encoded stimuli compete for access to working memory (WM) through forward, and lateral inhibitory interactions, which influence the strength of their neural response. At the same time, top down interactions may influence the overall processing in both stages. The basic functionality of the model relies on the assumption that an incoming visual stimulus is processed based on the rate and temporal coding of its associated neural activity. Thus, a saliency map algorithm is used in the model to set neural activity at the early stages of processing. In the second stage of processing, neural activity passes through a correlation control system comprised of coincidence detector neurons. These neurons measure the degree of semantic correlation between endogenous goals and the neural representation of the visual stimuli and may increase the synchronization between the brain areas involved in vision and goal maintenance. The developed model was used to simulate the findings from several behavioral experiments on the Attentional-Blink Phenomenon, the Perceptual Load theory of attention, and the relation between attention and consciousness.

Short Bio:
Kleanthis Neokleous is a doctoral student in the Computer Science Department of the University of Cyprus. He has previously obtained a BA and MSc in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) as well as a double MSc in Space science and technology from the Lulea University of Technology – Sweden and MSc in Space Systems and Automation from the Czech Technical University – Czech Republic. His research interests lie within the broad area of computational neuroscience, mainly through cognitive modeling. Furthermore he has been involved with various applications based on computational intelligence methods. Currently he is working as a graduate research assistant on a project dedicated to the study of visual selective attention.

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