Why is that there? Feature tuning across the visual cortex

Seminar | January 16 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Berkeley Way West, 2121 Berkeley Way, Room 1203

 Talia Konkle, Harvard University

 Neuroscience Institute, Helen Wills

What drives the functional organization of the visual system? All proposals balance the causal roles of two pressures: innately specified cortical patterning mechanisms, establishing large-scale network architecture, and self-organizing mechanisms driven by the statistics of natural experience, effecting local organization. In part 1, I will characterize the functional organization of object-selective cortex and how well it converges with network architecture as revealed by functional connectivity measures. We find that long-range network-level distinctions mirror category-selective organization of object cortex, which points to the viability of "built-in" organizational pressures. However, we also find evidence for an extensive local interconnected network, and use deep neural network models to provide insight into this finding. In part 2, I will consider the large-scale organization of the early visual areas using Kohonen mapping techniques. This computational work suggests that V1/V2/V3 do not have to be specified by distinct patterning mechanisms but can emerge from self-organizing processes. Considering the results of both of these projects together, we will discuss these local and long-range organizing pressures and the cortical scales at which these two causal pressures meet.