Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN Sonderseminar

Wednesday, 12.11.2008 17 c.t.

Surround suppression, motivation and the spatial representation in monkey parietal cortex (LIP)

by Dr. Suresh Krishna
from Institut des Sciences Cognitives, CNRS, Lyon, France

Contact person: Theo Geisel


Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)


The representation of visual space in monkey LIP has been linked to a wide range of cognitive processes (e.g. attention, saccadic intention and saccadic decision-making). Models of these processes commonly invoke global inhibition as the mechanistic substrate to compute the relative strength of the representation at different spatial locations and to allow for the emergence of a single winner from competing populations. Spatially wide-ranging inhibition can also serve to "protect" foci of persistent activity in cortical models from distractor interference. However, the effects of such inhibition have never been observed or studied before in LIP neurons, or more generally, in any of the main cortical areas that have been proposed to function as attentional/saccadic priority maps. In the talk, I will describe the results of some of our recent physiological studies characterizing surround suppression in LIP neurons, and how surround suppression interacts with the monkey's motivation to shape the LIP representation. I conducted these studies with Annegret Falkner in Mickey Goldberg's lab at Columbia University. Our results have potential implications for several aspects of attentional/oculomotor behavior including a) the competition among spatial locations for attentional and saccadic priority, b) the spatial extent of the attentional zoom-lens, c) the ability of a prior attentional focus to modulate attentional capture by an abrupt-onset distractor and d) the effects of motivation upon these phenomena.

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