“Using brain imaging, computational, and psychophysical technologies to understand attention deficit disorder”

Dr. David Gilden
Professor, The University of Texas at Austin Department of Psychology

Wednesday, March 5, 2008
5:45 p.m. – Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. – Presentation

Converging evidence from both structural and neuroreceptor imaging suggests that striatal dopamine dysfunction is attendant to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Such pathology may influence the time scales over which discrete and temporally separated events may be fused in scene formation. As a test of this proposition, we conducted psychophysical assessments of the minimum tempo at which rhythmic feeling can be sustained in adults with diagnosed ADHD and in a control group of normal adults. Using a variety of numerical techniques drawn from fractal physiology, climatology, and econometrics, we were able to demonstrate that people with ADHD do in fact have a rhythm cut-off that is faster in tempo than normal adults. This finding is consistent with the idea that impaired dopamine dynamics have systemic consequences for cognitive function, essentially recalibrating the clock that sets the time scale for the subjective experience of time.

Gilden’s research interests cover a number of topics in perception and cognition. Visual attention, working memory, and 1/f noises in biological systems are three areas of current concentration. The research in this lab is strongly influenced by the recognition that good data is harder to come by than theory in Psychology. Gilden is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Center for Perceptual Systems.