University of Chicago Big Ideas Generator


Big Question: Perceptual brain dynamics and the stability of sensory information

University of Chicago Big Questions

Principal Investigator: Leslie Kay, Psychology

Funding Type: Seed

Focus Area: Cognition

Big Idea: Contrary to belief about sensory information, most of the sensory activity we receive from outside our brains is not an objective representation of the outside world. Brain regions that receive direct sensory input (thalamus and olfactory bulb) receive more input from higher order areas of the brain than they do from the outside world. Accordingly, neurons that receive primary sensory information respond to many more things than just the sensory stimulus; they are strongly modulated by ongoing processes in the brain. By measuring contributions of these higher order processes through a variety of methods, we will quantify the respective contributions of peripheral and central areas in their dynamic cooperation producing an emergent perceptual state, enabling us to think about sensory information in a new way, as a dynamical state produced by multiple brain areas.  

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