Competition for control of behavior

Behavioural responses are influenced by information from a person’s immediate environment and an individual’s goals and intentions. Conflict between these sources occurs regularly, and is particularly evident in eye movements, in which split-second decisions about where to look next are made more than 100 times a minute. Many neurological and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and anxiety are characterized by inefficient or inappropriate eye movements and other behaviours. Amelia Hunt is studying the physiology of eye movements to assess how conflicts between intentions and sensory responses are resolved. She is also investigating whether models of eye movement control can apply to other complex behaviours and disorders. The research could inform and guide intervention strategies to be used when behavioural controls begin to break down from illness or trauma.