Department of Experimental Psychology
Department head: István Winkler, PhD, DSc
Short summary of research topics
We investigate auditory perception by behavioural and neuroscience (event‑related brain potential) methods, studying the memory and attentional resources involved in organizing the sound input into object representations. Our focus is on the detection and representation of acoustic regularities and their development in infancy. The goal is to assess the origins and functioning of the brain processes underlying communication and music cognition.
We investigate the automatic registration of regularities in vision, with the emphasis on characterizing the underlying memory functions, the connection between automatic and attentional processes, and the role of the implicit memory system in perception and orientation. Event‑related potentials, mainly the mismatch components (visual mismatch negativity and positivity) are used in these studies.
Within the field of lifelong cognitive development, we investigate the links between working memory processes and attentional selectivity by comparing task performance with event-related brain activity.
By investigating the interplay of attention and distraction, our goal is to answer questions, such as, how goal-directed behaviour influences the attentional set; what processes lead to distraction; and how one can influence these processes to avoid distraction.
The Space Research Group investigates the changes in perceptual and attentional processes under unfavourable conditions, such as sleep deprivation, cognitive fatigue, and hypoxia. In an experiment on board the International Space Station we investigate the influence of weightlessness and some of the above stressors on the performance of astronauts. Together with the Department of Social Psychology we develop psychological content analysis for prognosticating possible individual and intra-group crisis situations which may occur during long interplanetary missions. This method is currently under testing in the Mars-500 international simulation experiment.