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Home » Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar: What Happens in Your Brain When You Pay Attention? (Transcript)

Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar: What Happens in Your Brain When You Pay Attention? (Transcript)

Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar

Mehdi Ordikhani-Seyedlar – TED Talk TRANSCRIPT

Paying close attention to something: Not that easy, is it?

It’s because our attention is pulled in so many different directions at a time, and it’s in fact pretty impressive if you can stay focused.

Many people think that attention is all about what we are focusing on, but it’s also about what information our brain is trying to filter out.

There are two ways you direct your attention.

First, there’s overt attention. In overt attention, you move your eyes towards something in order to pay attention to it. Then there’s covert attention. In covert attention, you pay attention to something, but without moving your eyes.

Think of driving for a second. Your overt attention, your direction of the eyes, are in front, but that’s your covert attention which is constantly scanning the surrounding area, where you don’t actually look at them.

I’m a computational neuroscientist, and I work on cognitive brain-machine interfaces, or bringing together the brain and the computer. I love brain patterns. Brain patterns are important for us because based on them we can build models for the computers, and based on these models computers can recognize how well our brain functions.

And if it doesn’t function well, then these computers themselves can be used as assistive devices for therapies. But that also means something, because choosing the wrong patterns will give us the wrong models and therefore the wrong therapies. Right?

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