Dr Michele Furlan

Educational background

I have completed a 4 year PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC, University of Trento, Italy) under the supervision of Prof. Jens Schwarzbach. During my PhD I investigated the neural mechanisms of attention, exploring how visual attention affects the processing of motion coherence. Our results suggested that attention may increase the baseline activity of neurons. To explore this topic we used a combination of fMRI and psychophysical methods.

Before the PhD I completed a 5 year degree (MSc equivalent) in Psychology at the University of Trieste (Italy). The research project of my thesis was supervised by Prof. Carlo Semenza and Dr Radouane El Yagoubi, focused on the effect of attention on number processing.   

Research interests

I am currently working with Professor Robin Walker and Professor Andy Smith, supported by The Leverhulme Trust. We are investigating the role of the human Superior Colliculus (SC) in higher-level processes, such as target selection, reward processing. We are using a combination of eye movement recording and MRI methods.

Research interests (continued)

I worked with Professor Andy Smith and Professor John Wann, supported by EU Marie Curie Coordination for Optimal Decisions in Dynamic Environments (CODDE) network funded by the Seventh Framework Programme. Using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we are exploring the neural mechansims underlying the perception of dynamic environments. Particularly, our reserach is investigating how the neural systems extracts information about heading direction from optic flow. A related aspect of our research is to understand how the neural system encodes information about appraching objects, allowing us to detect (and avoid) possible collisions. 

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