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Talk by Prof. Bijan Pesaran

Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York & Neuroscience Institute, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York

"A role for coherent neural activity in movement coordination and decision making"

05 Oct 2018 14:00
05 Oct 2018 15:00
Lecture Hall, Central Library


Selecting and planning actions recruits neurons across many areas of the brain, but how ensembles of neurons work together to coordinate visual behavior is unknown.

Temporally coherent neural activity may provide a mechanism by which neurons coordinate behavior. If so, neurons that are part of coherent ensembles may predict coordinated visual behaviors earlier than or more accurately than other ensembles of neurons. I will present studies based on recordings of neuronal activity in the lateral and medial banks of the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) of the posterior parietal cortex - two regions that support coordinated visual behaviors. In the first study, monkeys made choices about where to look and reach. In the second study, monkeys performed coordinated look-reach movements to reveal the behavioral gaze anchoring effect. In each case, we decoded the activity to predict the movement properties. Ensembles of neurons that displayed coherent patterns of spiking activity extending across the IPS—‘dual-coherent’ ensembles—predicted movement properties substantially earlier and more accurately than other neuronal ensembles. I propose that dual-coherent spike timing reflects interactions between groups of neurons that are important to coordinated visual behavior. I will finish the talk by considering the larger-scale brain networks that guide our behavior. I will discuss recent efforts in my lab to develop novel technological and conceptual approaches that seek to unravel their function.