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Dr Karina J Linnell MA MSc PhD

Staff details

PositionReader in Psychology
Department Psychology
Email k.j.linnell (@gold.ac.uk)
Phone+44 (0)20 7717 2906
Dr Karina J Linnell MA MSc PhD

Summary of research

Visual attention, visual perception, and action, all within the context of visual cognition; visual psychophysics; cognitive neuroscience of attention, including cognitive neuropsychology, fMRI imaging and ERPs.

Research Interests

My research focuses on visual attention and its relation to (i) visual perception, (ii) action, (iii) consciousness and (iv) affect. In investigating these and other issues in cognition and perception, I work with normal and neuropsychological populations, and use a variety of techniques ranging from behavioural measurement (e.g., discrimination accuracy, reaction-time and movement-trajectory) through to brain imaging (fMRI and ERP).

Visual Attention and Perception

Our visual abilities seem so effortless that it is often hard to appreciate the critical role that limited-capacity attentional processing plays in vision (e.g., it seems that we only consciously perceive even the most clearly represented stimuli when we attend them). One important goal of vision and visual attention is to enable us to know what objects are where. We are currently investigating how object-based attention modulates space-based attention in support of this goal, and how the balance of space- and object-based attention changes over time and with processing load.

The role of perceptual grouping processes in object-based and feature-based attention is well documented, but we are also investigating the role of top-down attentional processing in determining perceptual grouping. All our investigations on attention and perception focus both on healthy participants and on patients with lesions in parietal and frontal cortices.

Visual Attention and Action

How do our interactions with objects in the visual scene impact on our attention to these objects? What happens when we prepare to point to, or move our eyes towards, a particular object? Is our attention allocated to the whole object, or just the part moved to? Our current findings suggest that grasping a multi-part object results in attention to the whole object, whereas pointing to it results in attention to just the relevant part or location.

We are constantly moving our eyes around the visual field, fixating first one location and then another. How does the distribution of attention change across re-fixations in a real-life task such as reading? I am currently advertising a PhD project in this area.

Visual Attention and Consciousness

The attentional blink (AB) is the name given to the phenomenon where the second of two successively presented targets fails to generate conscious awareness (or a P3 ERP component in scalp-recorded voltage fluctuations). For the AB to present itself, the second target must be presented within 250 ms of the first target, at a point in time when the first target is fully engaging attentional processes.

We have recently been awarded an ESRC project grant to use the AB phenomenon to investigate ‘Conscious awareness across time as a function of task and stimulus factors’. In this project, and in a related PhD project that I am currently advertising, we are using both behavioural and ERP measures of awareness.

Visual Attention and Affect

We are currently revisiting the question as to how anxiety affects the distribution of attention and awareness across the visual field: does it accentuate the normal attentional bias to attend to where our eyes are pointed, giving us tunnel vision, or does it diminish this bias, and focus our attention on (new) stimuli appearing in the margins of our visual field?

Publications

Book Section

Attending to what you are doing. Neuropsychological and experimental evidence for interactions between perception and action
Humphreys, Glyn W.; Riddoch, M. Jane; Linnell, Karina J; Punt, D.; Edwards, M. G. and Wing, Alan M.. 2004. Attending to what you are doing. Neuropsychological and experimental evidence for interactions between perception and action. In: Glyn W. Humphreys and M. Jane Riddoch, eds. Attention in action. New York and London: Psychology Press, pp. 3-25. ISBN 978-1-84169-354-5

Article

Effects of culture and the urban environment on the development of the Ebbinghaus illusion.
Bremner, A. J.; Doherty, M. J.; Caparos, S.; De Fockert, J. W.; Linnell, K. J. and Davidoff, J. B. 2016. Effects of culture and the urban environment on the development of the Ebbinghaus illusion. Child Development,

Visual processing at goal and effector locations is dynamically enhanced during motor preparation.
Mason, Luke; Linnell, Karina J; Davis, Robert and Van Velzen, Jose L.. 2015. Visual processing at goal and effector locations is dynamically enhanced during motor preparation. Neuroimage, 117, pp. 243-249.

Urbanization increases left-bias in line-bisection: An expression of elevated levels of intrinsic alertness?
Linnell, Karina J; Caparos, Serge and Davidoff, Jules B.. 2014. Urbanization increases left-bias in line-bisection: An expression of elevated levels of intrinsic alertness? Frontiers in Psychology, 5(1127), pp. 1-7. ISSN 1664-1078

Investigating eye movement patterns, language, and social ability in children with autism spectrum disorder
Stagg, Steven; Linnell, Karina J and Heaton, Pam F.. 2014. Investigating eye movement patterns, language, and social ability in children with autism spectrum disorder. Development and Psychopathology, 26(2), pp. 529-537. ISSN 0954-5794

Urbanization decreases attentional engagement
Linnell, Karina J; Caparos, Serge; Fockert, Jan W. de and Davidoff, Jules B.. 2013. Urbanization decreases attentional engagement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 39(5), pp. 1232-1247. ISSN 0096-1523

Extinction and Anti-extinction: The “Attentional Waiting” Hypothesis
Watling, Rosamond; Danckert, James; Linnell, Karina J and Cocchini, Gianna. 2013. Extinction and Anti-extinction: The “Attentional Waiting” Hypothesis. Neuropsychology, 27(2), pp. 275-279. ISSN 0894-4105

Do local and global perceptual biases tell us anything about local and global selective attention?
Caparos, S.; Linnell, Karina J; Bremner, Andrew J.; Fockert, Jan W. de and Davidoff, Jules B.. 2013. Do local and global perceptual biases tell us anything about local and global selective attention? Psychological Science, 24(2), pp. 206-212. ISSN 0956-7976

Exposure to an urban environment alters the local bias of a remote culture
Caparos, S.; Ahmed, L.; Bremner, Andrew J.; Fockert, Jan W. de; Linnell, Karina J and Davidoff, Jules B.. 2012. Exposure to an urban environment alters the local bias of a remote culture. Cognition, 122(1), pp. 80-85. ISSN 0010-0277

Reduced Distractibility in a Remote Culture
Fockert, Jan W. de; Caparos, S.; Linnell, Karina J and Davidoff, Jules B.. 2011. Reduced Distractibility in a Remote Culture. PLoS ONE, 6(10), e26337. ISSN 1932-6203

Perceptual and Cognitive Load Interact to Control the Spatial Focus of Attention
Linnell, Karina J and Caparos, Serge. 2011. Perceptual and Cognitive Load Interact to Control the Spatial Focus of Attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 37(5), pp. 1643-1648. ISSN 0096-1523

The Spatial Focus of Attention Is Controlled at Perceptual and Cognitive Levels
Caparos, Serge and Linnell, Karina J. 2010. The Spatial Focus of Attention Is Controlled at Perceptual and Cognitive Levels. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 36(5), pp. 1080-1107. ISSN 0096-1523

Top-down-driven grouping over-rules the central attentional bias
Linnell, Karina J and Humphreys, G.. 2007. Top-down-driven grouping over-rules the central attentional bias. Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Perception and Performance, 33(3), pp. 530-548. ISSN 00961523

Action modulates object-based selection
Linnell, Karina J; Humphreys, Glyn W.; McIntyre, Dave B.; Laitinen, Sauli and Wing, Alan M.. 2005. Action modulates object-based selection. Vision Research, 45, pp. 2268-2286. ISSN 0042-6989

Attentional selection of a peripheral ring over-rules the central attentional bias
Linnell, Karina J and Humphreys, G.. 2004. Attentional selection of a peripheral ring over-rules the central attentional bias. Perception and Psychophysics, 66(5), pp. 743-751. ISSN 00315117

Visual search within and across dimensions: A case for within-dimension grouping
Linnell, Karina J and Humphreys, Glyn W.. 2002. Visual search within and across dimensions: A case for within-dimension grouping. British Journal of Psychology, 93(1), pp. 115-135. ISSN 00071269

Scene articulation: dependence of illuminant estimates on number of surfaces
Linnell, Karina J and Foster, D.. 2002. Scene articulation: dependence of illuminant estimates on number of surfaces. Perception, 31(2), pp. 151-159. ISSN 03010066

Parallel detection of violations of color constancy
Foster, David H.; Nascimento, Sérgio M. C.; Amano, Kinjiro; Arend, Larry; Linnell, Karina J; Nieves, Juan Luis; Plet, Sabrina and Foster, Jeffrey S.. 2001. Parallel detection of violations of color constancy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(14), pp. 8151-8156. ISSN 00278424

Spatially parallel processing of within-dimension conjunctions
Linnell, Karina J and Humphreys, Glyn W.. 2001. Spatially parallel processing of within-dimension conjunctions. Perception, 30(1), pp. 49-60. ISSN 0301-0066