Vanessa G. Lee

College of Liberal Arts
Twin Cities

Award Year
University Award
Distinguished McKnight University Professors
Research Title
Cognitive and neural mechanisms of attention

Section A, Location 14

Why do drivers sometimes miss red lights and radiologists cancerous tumors? How can we reduce human errors? Vanessa Lee’s research examines attention – the brain mechanism that allows us to focus on important tasks. She showed that although attention is limited, people are highly adept at learning to attend to important aspects of their environment. This ability, preserved in older adults, young children, and individuals with neurological disorders, may facilitate tasks like driving and cancer diagnosis.