Emergence of an adaptive behavioral command for sound-orienting behavior in owls

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Jerome L. Greene Science Center, 3227 Broadway
The brain can be viewed as a probabilistic estimator, where sensory statistics bias judgments. We addressed this question in the neural pathway supporting the owl’s sound localization. In the owl’s auditory midbrain sensory evidence on sound direction is weighted by its reliability to generate an adaptive motor command for head-orientation. This coding can emerge by convergent projections from a map of space onto premotor neurons controlling behavior. Thus, the topographic sensory representation of auditory space can be read out to adjust behavioral responses by statistics of the sensory input. These experimental results indicate that sensory statistics are both represented and anticipated in the owl’s brain, and built into premotor signals. Experimental results on human subjects yields consistent results, providing evidence towards convergent coding strategies underlying orienting responses across species.
Jose Luis Pena, MD, PhD
Home Institution: 
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Event Types: 
Neurobiology Seminars