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Durham University



Dr Ala Hola

Assistant Professor (Teaching) in the Department of Psychology
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43282
Room number: L78

(email at


I am interested in the way we orient our attention in visual space. It is known that in humans this can be achieved in two ways : by overt movements of the eyes, which can be summoned by external stimuli or directed under central control; and secondly, by covert orienting, that is directing attention to different areas of the visual field without moving ones eyes. Again, this can be controlled externally by central (symbolic) or peripheral (physical) stimuli, or directed by some internal plan; It is the latter form of covert orienting on which my research has focussed.

Using a reaction time methodology with computer generated images, I have investigated the stimulus features needed to produce the various components of covert visual orienting :

What is necessary for facilitation (i.e. shortened reaction times to a target appearing in a previously cued location) to occur ?

What causes inhibition (i.e. increased reaction times at a previously cued location) ?

Is cross-modal cueing possible ? And how do modalities interact attentionally ?
I am currently looking at the question of how we appear to group some information visually and how our attentional system operates on these stimuli ?

Research Interests

  • Attention
  • Overt and covert shifts of human spatial attention; cross-modal cueing


Journal Article

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