CBMM Research Meeting: Navigating the perceptual space with neural perturbations

February 27, 2024 - 3:00 pm

Arash Afraz Ph.D., Chief of unit on neurons, circuits and behavior, laboratory of neuropsychology, NIMH, NIH


Abstract: Local perturbation of neural activity in high-level visual cortical areas alters visual perception. Quantitative characterization of these perceptual alterations holds the key to understanding the mapping between patterns of neuronal activity and elements of perception. The complexity and subjectivity of these perceptual alterations makes them difficult to study. I introduce a new experimental approach, “Perceptography”, to develop “pictures” of the subjective experience induced by optogenetic cortical stimulation in the inferior temporal cortex of macaque monkeys. 

Bio: Dr. Arash Afraz received his MD from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2003. In 2005 he joined the Vision Science Laboratory at Harvard and studied spatial constraints of face recognition under the mentorship of Dr. Patrick Cavanagh. Dr. Afraz received his PhD in Psychology from Harvard University in 2009. Right after, he joined Dr. James DiCarlo’s group at MIT as a postdoctoral fellow to study the neural underpinnings of face and object recognition. Dr. Afraz started at NIMH as a principal investigator in 2017 to lead the unit on Neurons, Circuits and Behavior (Afraz group). Dr. Afraz’s group, Unit on Neurons, Circuits and Behavior, studies the neural mechanisms of visual object recognition. The research team is particularly interested in establishing causal links between the neural activity in the ventral stream of visual processing in the brain and object recognition behavior. The group combines visual psychophysics with conventional methods of single unit recording as well as microstimulation, drug microinjection and optogenetics to bridge the gap between the neural activity and visual perception.


MIT Building 46
February 27, 2024
3:00 pm
McGovern Reading Room (46-5165)