Dr. David R. Painter

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Email: d.painter1@uq.edu.au

Phone: + 61 (7) 3365 6230


Current research

Capacity limits in neural information processing demand that only a subset of sensory inputs can be selected for conscious awareness. Our behavioral goals tend to dictate which inputs reach awareness. To meet these goals, the visual system can prioritize inputs based on their locations (spatial attention) or visual features, such as color, orientation and motion (feature-based attention). My research examines the neural and behavioral basis of feature-based selective attention. Feature-based selection can act globally across the visual field to affect neural responses to objects, even those at task-irrelevant locations. Feature-based selection can also produce attentional capture from task-irrelevant distractors that possess a target feature (known as contingent capture). Such effects can be observed at the level of the single neuron and also at the level of cortical networks. My research has addressed questions including: When do spatially global feature-based effects arise? Does feature-based attention reflect the enhancement of target features, the suppression of distractor features or both? Does global feature-based selection underlie contingent capture? What brain areas are critically involved in regulating selective visual processing? To address these questions, I have used a combination of behavioral measures, brain imaging using techniques such as functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG), and also transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). A key aspect of my approach is the implementation of frequency-tagging methods for use with EEG. Frequency tagging involves visual stimuli flickering at unique rates, producing distinctive neural oscillations for each stimulus, detectable via EEG. These oscillations act as probes into selective attentional states. My research has implications for the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with attention deficits due to brain disease and psychological conditions. I plan to extend this research into applied settings, including the field of the science of learning.


Research interests

  • Selective attention
  • Brain imaging
  • Brain stimulation


Selected publications

For a full and up-to-date publications list, go to http://researchers.uq.edu.au/researcher/11088 and click on the "Publications" tab.

Painter, D. R., Dux, P. E., & Mattingley, J. B. (2015a). Causal involvement of visual area MT in global feature-based enhancement but not contingent attentional capture. NeuroImage, 118, 90-102.

Painter, D. R., Dux, P. E., & Mattingley, J. B. (2015b). Distinct roles of the intraparietal sulcus and temporoparietal junction in attentional capture from distractor features: An individual differences approach. Neuropsychologia, 74, 50-62.

Painter, D. R., Dux, P. E., Travis, S. L., & Mattingley, J. B. (2014). Neural responses to target features outside a search array are enhanced during conjunction but not unique-feature search. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(9), 3390-3401.

Painter, D. R., Kritikos, A., & Raymond, J. E. (2014). Value learning modulates goal-directed actions. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67(6), 1166-1175.

Kritikos, A., Dozo, N., Painter, D., & Bayliss, A. (2012). Mountain high, valley low: Direction-specific effects of articulation on reaching. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(1), 39-54.

Kritikos, A., McTaggart, L., Painter, D. R., & Bayliss, A. P. (2012). Something in the way she moves me: Morphology and motion of observed goal-directed and pantomimed actions. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, 74(1), 36-42.

Ocampo, B., Painter, D. R., & Kritikos, A. (2012). Event coding and motor priming: How attentional modulation may influence binding across action properties. Experimental Brain Research, 219(1), 139-150.


Conference presentations

Painter, D. R., Funane, T., Katura, T., Sato, H., & Mattingley, J. B. (2015, April). Spatiotemporal evolution of feature-based selection during visual search. Paper presented at the Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference 2015, Sydney, Australia.

Painter, D. R., Dux, P. E., & Mattingley, J. B. (2012, December). On the role of parietal cortex in contingent capture. Paper presented at the UQ Centre for Perception and Cognitive Neuroscience, Brisbane, Australia.

Painter, D. R., Dux, P. E., & Mattingley, J. B. (2012, October). Enhanced steady-state neural responses to task-relevant features at ignored locations during visual search. Paper presented at the Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, LA.

Dwyer, M., Painter, D. R., & Mattingley, J. B. (2012, October). Steady-state evoked potentials reveal visual cortex hyper-excitability in macular degeneration patients with complex visual hallucinations. Paper presented at the Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, LA.

Ocampo, B., Painter, D. R., & Kritikos, A. (2012, April). Event-coding and motor priming: How attentional modulation may influence binding across action properties. Paper presented at the 39th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, Sydney, Australia.

Painter, D. R., Travis, S. L., Dux, P. E., & Mattingley, J. B. (2012, February). Feature-based enhancement at completely task-irrelevant locations. Paper presented at the Australian Neuroscience Society: Oscillations Satellite Meeting, Brisbane, Australia.

Painter, D. R., Travis, S. L., Dux, P. E., & Mattingley, J. B. (2011, September). Feature-based enhancement of visual stimuli at task-irrelevant locations. Paper presented at the Vision Sciences Society, Naples, FL.

Painter, D. R., Travis, S. L., Dux, P. E., & Mattingley, J. B. (2011, April). Feature-based enhancement at completely task-irrelevant locations. Paper presented at the 38th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, Auckland, New Zealand.

Painter, D. R., Kritikos, A., & Raymond, J. E. (2010, April). Does reinforcement value modulate reach-to-grasp? Paper presented at the 44th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society, Darwin, Australia.

Kritikos, A., McTaggart, L., Bayliss, A., & Painter, D. R. (2010, April). Something in the way she moves me – but only if I'm watching. Paper presented at the 37th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference, Melbourne, Australia.

Painter, D. R., Kritikos, A., & Raymond, J. E. (2009, August). Grabbing for cash! Paper presented at the HCSNet Perception and Action Workshop: Tools and Techniques for Conducting EEG and MEG Experiments, Brisbane, Australia.