Online Lecture by Lyle Muller

Traveling waves in cortex: spatiotemporal dynamics shape perceptual and cognitive processes

With new multichannel recording technologies, neuroscientists can now record from cortex with high spatial and temporal resolution. Early recordings during anesthesia observed waves traveling across the cortex. While for a long time traveling waves were thought to disappear in awake animals, by introducing new computational methods for high-noise spatiotemporal data we have shown that spontaneous and stimulus-evoked traveling waves shape neural activity during normal waking activity and sleep. The role of these spatiotemporal dynamics in neural computation, however, remains poorly understood. In upcoming work, we aim to address the network-level mechanisms generating traveling waves and complex spatiotemporal patterns, under the general aim of understanding their roles in sensory processing and computation.