Salient stimuli—those that capture our attention because they’re especially significant—play a major role in how we perceive and interact with the world. But it’s unclear how salient stimuli are communicated to the brain’s decision-making centers so that stimulus-driven behaviors can be effectively regulated.
Jose L. Pena, M.D., Ph.D., Brian Fischer, D.Sc., and colleagues have received a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to better understand how the brain—based on stimulus location—processes behaviorally significant sensory signals while disregarding others. The researchers will use multielectrode recording techniques on barn owls—animals whose visual and auditory centers in the midbrain have been well studied. Their findings may reveal the brain’s mechanisms for processing and coding salient stimuli along sensory pathways.
Dr. Pena is professor in the Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience at Einstein. Dr. Fischer is professor of mathematics at Seattle University. (1R01NS135851)
Posted on: Tuesday, October 17, 2023