DATE: October 23rd, 13:30 pm
PLACE: Virtual Zoom Seminar
(For access link, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Professor Pieter R. Roelfsema
Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
“How visual perception emerges from interactions between the different areas of the cerebral cortex”
Abstract: I will argue that early visual cortex plays a crucial role in visual cognition – i.e. in tasks where we reason about what we see. Early visual cortex acts as a cognitive blackboard for read and write operations by higher visual areas, which can thereby efficiently exchange information. Inhibiting these interactions gives rise to selective deficits in visual perception. Elementary processes such a contrast-detection are unimpaired. However, more complex tasks, which depend on the segregation of a figure from the background are impaired. Our results inspire new approaches to create a visual prosthesis for the blind, by creating a direct interface with the visual cortex. I will discuss how high-channel-number interfaces with the visual cortex might be used to restore a rudimentary form of vision in blind individuals.
About the Speaker: Pieter R. Roelfsema received his MD degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands in 1991. For his Ph.D. work, he went to the group of Wolf Singer at the Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt (Germany) to work on the visual system of the cat and the role of neuronal synchronization. He received his Ph.D. degree at the University of Amsterdam in 1995. He then worked as a postdoc in the department of Visual Systems Analysis at the University of Amsterdam headed by Henk Spekreijse where he worked together with Victor Lamme. In 2002, he became a workgroup leader at the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute, which became part of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in 2005. In 2007, he was appointed as general director of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, an institute of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences of the Netherlands. In 2005, he became a strategic Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam and in 2012 also Professor at the AMC in Amsterdam. Pieter Roelfsema was a member of the Dutch Young Academy from 2005 to 2010, and he is now an ambassador for the Dutch Young Academy.