Feb. 17, 11:45, Wei Ji Ma. Optimality and Probabilistic Computation in Visual Categorization

 Rich Krauzlis

Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research

National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

The underbelly of vision and action: The role of the brainstem in spatial attention

The process of transforming sensory inputs into actions is commonly viewed as a serial and hierarchical affair: the cerebral cortex evaluates and decides, and the brainstem generates the necessary motor outputs. However, in vertebrates with a less-developed cerebral cortex, the responsibility for integrating different sources of sensory information and gating appropriate behavioral responses falls to brainstem structures such as the superior colliculus (SC). In this talk, I will present evidence that the SC retains a similar role in higher-level sensory-motor functions even in the primate. Specifically, the SC plays a crucial role in the control of visual spatial attention, and appears to do so through mechanisms that are independent of the well-known signatures of spatial attention in the visual cortex.

Background Reading:  Nature Neuroscience