ESI TALKS: Richard Krauzlis

At this bi-weekly event, we invite speakers from Neuroscience and related fields to share their current research in an informal and casual environment. The ESITALKS last around 45 minutes, followed by discussions.

We are very happy to invite you to this ESITALKS about

Attention meets object processing: interactions between the midbrain and visual cortex

Many studies have examined how the executive management of sensory representations and features is accomplished by the neocortex. A complementary and important aspect of attention is how objects are selected for further processing and action. In this talk, I will present my laboratory’s work showing that interactions between the midbrain and the cortex are important for this latter aspect of attentional selection. First, I will review evidence that the midbrain superior colliculus in primates plays a crucial role in the control of visual spatial attention. Second, using fMRI and electrophysiology in monkeys, combined with reversible inactivation of the superior colliculus, we have identified an area in temporal cortex with attention-related modulation and also object-selective activity, and we found that both of these properties depend on activity from the superior colliculus. Third, pursuing this link between attention and object processing, we have recently discovered that visual activity in the superior colliculus itself shows a preference for object categories – especially for faces – and that this activity is routed through an unexpected visual circuit. Our results highlight the importance of interactions between the midbrain and visual cortex in the control of attention and object processing. They further show that these interactions target an intermediate stage of sensory-motor processing – a stage at which selections are made, not about the sensory features, but about the prioritization of objects for further processing and potential actions.

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