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The underbelly of vision and action: the role of the brainstem in spatial attention

Dr. Richard Krauzlis

Monday, December 05, 2011, 12:00pm - 07:00pm

Senior Investigator, Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

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The process of transforming sensory inputs into actions is commonly viewed as a serial and hierarchical affair: the cerebral cortex evaluates and decides, and the brainstem generates the necessary motor outputs. However, in vertebrates with a less-developed cerebral cortex, the responsibility for integrating different sources of sensory information and gating appropriate behavioral responses falls to brainstem structures such as the superior colliculus (SC).  In this talk,  I will present evidence that the SC retains a similar role in higher-level sensory-motor functions even in the primate. Specifically,  the SC plays a crucial role in the control of visual spatial attention, and appears to do so through mechanisms that are independent of the well-known signatures of spatial attention in the visual cortex.

 

Background Reading  - Nature Neuroscience

 

 

Dr. Richard Krauzlis