Seminar Series

Neuronal dynamics in the primary visual areas

I will describe several studies that have shed light on the neural activity in the primary visual areas and the significance of this activity for perceptual phenomena. I will show evidence for the role of neural synchronization in perceptual phenomena and the dynamics of availability of stimulus-related information (a form of "mind reading") as a function of elapsed time, multiple stimulus presentations and stimulus complexity. For each study, I will try to present two aspects of the data; one which we can easily interpret and integrate into the current theories of brain function; and the other, that also exists in the data sets, but which is more mysterious because it cannot be accounted well by our present understanding of the brain--and is hence often treated as noise. I will argue that these mysterious aspects are all-pervasive and exist not only in our data but are ubiquitous in systems neuroscience. I will then try to emphasize how important it is not to ignore these non-fitting aspects but rather use them as a guide pointing towards places at which our theories can be improved. Finally, I will briefly mention my own recent efforts in improving the brain theory as inspired by these findings.