How Can the Brain Efficiently Build an Understanding of the Natural World

How Can the Brain Efficiently Build an Understanding of the Natural World

Date Posted: 

February 16, 2018

Date Recorded: 

February 16, 2018

Speaker(s): 

Ann M. Hermundstad
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Description: 

Ann M. Hermundstad, PhD, Janelia Research Campus

Abstract: The brain exploits the statistical regularities of the natural world. In the visual system, an efficient representation of light intensity begins in retina, where statistical redundancies are removed via spatiotemporal decorrelation. Much less is known, however, about the efficient representation of complex features in higher visual areas. I will discuss how the central visual system, operating with different goals and under different constraints, makes efficient use of resources to extract meaningful features from complex visual stimuli. I will then highlight how these same principles can be generalized to dynamic situations, where both the environment and the goals of the system are in flux. Together, these principles have implications for understanding a broad range of phenomena across animals and sensory modalities.