02
August
2011

Seminar by Shreesh Mysore (Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, USA)

Title: Selection for attention: Insights from the avian brain

Time and venue: from 10.00 a.m. to noon at the Lecture Hall (room 0.10 of the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max-von-Laue-Str. 3, 60438 Frankfurt am Main, Campus Riedberg)

Abstract
Animals are continuously faced with a barrage of information in the form of sensory inputs and cognitive influences. The selection of the most important information at any instant is critical to adaptive behavior. Recent experiments in the barn owl have yielded insights into some of the fundamental computations and neural mechanisms underlying stimulus selection for attention and gaze. I will describe results that address the following five questions: When multiple, competing stimuli are present in the environment, what are the spatial constraints on the interactions between their neural representations? How are the relative strengths of the competing stimuli neurally encoded? How is the signaling of the strongest (“most important”) stimulus achieved? How do cognitive influences (voluntary biases such as the intent to shift gaze) alter this signaling? What are potential neural mechanisms underlying these computations? These results shed new light on stimulus selection for attention and gaze, and show promise for unraveling common mechanistic links among the vital neural processes of attention, decision-making and perception.

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Dr. Arjan Vink
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