How do we study Circuit Mechanisms of Attention and Control ?

We study …

  1. How cells in the brain learn the value of objects and select them in covert choice processes. Cell activity is measured in the human and the animal brain.
  2. How cells form cell assemblies and circuits by temporally synchronizing their activity. Synchronization is measured with a whole battery of tools that are conjointly developed with Martin Vinck and fieldtrip.
  3. How circuits form large scale brain networks that implement attentional control. We do this with fMRI analysis and with ECoG recordings of multiple brain areas.
  4. How attention and choice behavior evolves through reinforcement learning in computational models.

We find answers to these major questions by …

  • … Decoding information transfer from spike phase, spike rate and spike phase dependent rate codes in the brain. E.g. Womelsdorf, Lima, Vinck, Neuenschwander, Oostenveld, Singer and Fries (2012) Orientation selectivity and noise correlation in awake monkey V1 are modulated by the gamma cycle. PNAS, Proceedings National Academy of Science, USA. 109(11): 4302-07.
  • … Identifying the neuromodulation of circuit interactions during attention. E.g.: Hassani, Oemisch, Balcarras, Westendorff, Womelsdorf (2015) Alpha-2A Noradrenergic Activation improves Behavioural Flexibility during Feature-based Reversal Learning. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting.