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Attention and Prediction

Our brain constantly receives numerous sensory signals. This requires a selection of currently relevant stimuli and a suppression of distracting stimuli.

These selection processes are substantially affected by predictions and expectations of future stimuli. We investigate those mechanisms in the human brain which direct our attention and generate or update expectations, respectively.

Mengotti_2020_CortexReprinted from Cortex, 132, Mengotti, Kaesbauer, Fink & Vossel, Lateralization, functional specialization, and dysfunction of attentional networks, 206-222, Copyright 2020, with permission from Elsevier.


Attention and prediction are investigated in the healthy human brain using behavioural studies, functional neuroimaging as well as neurostimulation (e.g. transcranial magnetic stimulation, TMS). We also compare the underlying mechanisms and cortical networks in the attention and motor system.

Moreover, we investigate these cognitive processes in patients with brain lesions after stroke, in particular in relation to neuropsychological disorders such as the spatial neglect syndrome. Neglect is characterized by a failure to respond to stimuli occurring in the side of space contralateral to the brain lesion. Since this cannot be explained by sensory deficits, neglect is often regarded as a disorder of attentional allocation.

The group is also affiliated to the Department of Psychology of the University of Cologne: Cognitive Neuropsychology