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Talk by Dr. Marieke Schölvinck

Ernst Strüngmann Institute in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, Frankfurt/Main

15 Sep 2011 17:00
15 Sep 2011 18:00

Listening to neuronal noise:
effects of spontaneous brain activity on stimulus processing

The brain’s response to a repeatedly presented, identical visual stimulus is typically highly variable. Accordingly, also our perception of these visual stimuli can vary from moment to moment. Such differences in neuronal and behavioural responses to a stimulus are largely caused by activity that is spontaneously generated by the cortex. However, exactly how this spontaneous brain activity interacts with activity evoked by visual stimuli to produce such variable responses remains largely unclear. In my talk, I will use a variety of approaches (electrophysiology in mice, cats, and monkeys, and fMRI in monkeys and humans) to explore this interaction between spontaneous and stimulus-driven activity. Taken together, these studies show that spontaneous brain activity plays an important role in sensory processing, and argue that understanding the brain’s internal dynamics is essential to understanding the brain as a whole.