CRI: Theory and Experiments on the Function of Visual Cortex

Project Details


IBN: 9634368 PI: McLaughlin This project will be supported under the NSF program on INTEGRATING ENABLING TECHNOLOGIES INTO NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH; it is a collaboration of mathematicians and neuroscientists attacking the most important issues in brain research. In our view, the premier problem facing us is how to understand the function of the cerebral cortex of the brain as a functioning neural network. We study the part of the cerebral cortex that handles visual information--called the visual cortex. Cells in the visual cortex are selectively sensitive for the orientations of the visual boundaries of objects. We will develop and test neural network models for this selectivity, to see whether it is a property that emerges from interactions between nerve cells in the cerebral cortex, or whether it is a passive by-product of the connections to cortical cells from lower levels of the visual system of the brain. We believe that understanding the neural basis for orientation tuning in the visual cortex may be crucial for understanding the function of the entire cortex. If we find evidence that interaction between neighboring neurons in the cerebral cortex is essential for orientation tuning to work, then this will be crucial support for the idea that the cerebral cortex is a richly interconnected, interactive neural network that can be studied with available analytical tools.

Effective start/end date1/09/9631/08/99


  • National Science Foundation: $100,000.00


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