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Department of Psychology

A workshop on Oculomotor Readiness and Covert Attention was held on 5th & 6th April 2016

Department of Psychology, Durham University

Organiser: Daniel T. Smith


Spatial attention can be oriented independently of the direction of gaze, but the neural and cognitive mechanisms governing this orienting are controversial. A widely held view is that the cognitive processes involved in preparing eye-movements (overt shifts of attention) are also required for covert shifts of attention.This view is known as the Oculomotor Readiness Hypothesis and is also a core tenet of the Premotor theory. However, in recent years a growing body of research has challenged this orthodoxy. This work has primarily drawn on behavioural and neuropsychological studies of human participants and has led to a number of alternative explanations for the relationship between eye-movement control and spatial attention. The purpose of this workshop was to provide researchers with a forum for a challenging discussion of the recent, exciting developments in this field. To this end, talks were given by eight scientists representing a range of different views on the link between attention and eye-movement control. The meeting was aimed at all researchers with an interest in attention and eye-movements, but we particularly encouraged PhD students and Post-docs to attend. The timing and venue for this workshop were particularly timely as 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the publication in QJEP of one the seminal papers in this field by researchers from Durham University; Shepherd, Findlay & Hockey (1986).

Speakers (L to R)

  • Dr Sabine Born (Université de Genève, Switzerland)
  • Dr Artem Belopolsky (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands)
  • Professor Ray Klein (Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • Dr Daniel Smith (Durham University, UK)
  • Dr Aarlenne Khan (University of Montreal, Canada )
  • Dr Amelia Hunt (University of Aberdeen, UK)
  • Dr Daniela Balslev (University of St Andrews, UK).
  • Dr Stefan van der Stigchel (University of Utrecht, Netherlands)

Poster Session

A poster session and drinks reception took place after the talks on the 5th April.

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