Using biologically plausible neural models to specify the functional and neural mechanisms of visual search

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Colleges, School and Institutes


We review research from our laboratory that attempts to pull apart the functional and neural mechanisms of visual search using converging, inter-disciplinary evidence from experimental studies with normal participants, neuropsychological studies with brain lesioned patients, functional brain imaging and computational modelling. The work suggests that search is determined by excitatory mechanisms that support the selection of target stimuli, and inhibitory mechanisms that suppress irrelevant distractors. These mechanisms operate through separable though overlapping neural circuits which can be functionally decomposed by imposing model-based analyses on brain imaging data. The chapter highlights the need for inter-disciplinary research for understanding complex cognitive processes at several levels.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in brain research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • computational modelling, visual search, functional brain imaging, visual attention