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  • James E. Hoffman, Professor

    Professor
    University of Delaware
    213 Wolf Hall
    Newark, DE 19716
    302-831-2453

    Biography

    Professor Hoffman is interested in brain mechanisms involved in “cognitive control”, our ability to perceive and act in a goal directed manner. Selective attention is one such mechanism that allows people to control which stimuli in their environment gain access to high-level, limited capacity systems important for memory, action, and awareness. The Hoffman lab is currently using eye-tracking and EEG measures to study the role of attention in three areas: multiple object tracking, resisting distraction from emotional stimuli, and using EEG to predict recovery from acute coma. Multiple object tracking (MOT) is involved in a number of everyday activities such as team sports and driving. Surprisingly, research indicates that people can only accurately track up to about four objects. Tran and Hoffman (submitted), funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, recently showed that this tracking limitation results from a limited supply of attention that is divided among the tracked objects. Failures of tracking occur when visual attention is captured by irrelevant, salient visual objects or when dual-task demands exceed capacity. Another example of attention capture by salient stimuli is provided​ by the phenomenon of “emotion-induced blindness” or EIB which refers to impaired awareness of visual information appearing soon after presentation of a task-irrelevant, emotional picture (e.g., a threatening animal, a bloody face, etc.). Together with colleagues at the University of New South Wales in Australia, the Hoffman lab showed that this impaired awareness is related to brain activity in visual areas of the brain that occurs approximately a quarter of a second after presentation of the emotional picture. Finally, the Hoffman lab, funded by a pilot grant from the Delaware Center for Translational Research, is collaborating with Christiana Medical Center to use EEG measures of attention and awareness to predict the course of recovery in patients in the acute coma state.

    Degrees

    B.S., M.S., Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

    Courses Regularly Taught

    PSYC310 Sensation and Perception

    PSYC340 Introduction to Cognition

    PSYC433 Cognitive Neuroscience

    PSYC667 Cognitive Control Mechanisms

    Recent Publications

    Dr. Hoffman's Google Scholar Link

    Tran, A., & Hoffman, J.E. (2016) Visual attention is required for multiple object tracking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42 (12), 2103-2114.

    Kennedy, B.L., Rawding, J., Most, S.& Hoffman, J.E. (2014). Emotion-induced blindness reflects competition at early and late processing stages: An ERP study. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 14, 1485-1498.

    Skoranski, A., Most, S.B., Lutz-Stehl, M., Hoffman, J.E., Hassink, S.G., & Simons, R.F (2013). Response monitoring and cognitive control in childhood obesity. Biological Psychology, 92, 199-204.

    Landau, B. and Hoffman, J. E. Spatial Representation: From Gene to Mind (2012). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    O'Hearn, K., Hoffman, J. E.,and Landau, B. (2011). Small subitizing range in people with Williams syndrome. Visual Cognition, 289-312.

    Doran, M. M., & Hoffman, J. E. (2010). The role of visual attention in multiple object tracking: Evidence from ERPs. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 71(1), 33-52.

    Doran, M., Hoffman, J. E. , & Scholl, B. (2009).The Role of Eye Fixations in Concentration and Amplification Effects During Multiple Object Tracking. Visual Cognition, 17, 574-579.

    Representative Publications

    Kennedy, B.L., Rawding, J., Most, S.& Hoffman, J.E. (2014). Emotion-induced blindness reflects competition at early and late processing stages: An ERP study. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 14, 1485-1498.

    Landau, B. and Hoffman, J. E. Spatial Representation: From Gene to Mind (2012). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    Reiss, J. E. & Hoffman, J. E. (2007). Disruption of Early Face Recognition Processes by Object Substitution Masking. Visual Cognition, 15 (7), 789-798

    Hoffman, J.E. , Landau, B. & Pagani, B. (2003) Spatial Breakdown in Spatial Construction: Evidence from Eye Fixations in Children with Williams Syndrome. Cognitive Psychology, 45, 260-301.

    Hoffman, J. E. and Subramanium, B. (1995). The role of visual attention in saccadic eye movements. Perception and Psychophysics, 57, 787-795.

 

 

 

 

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