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Brain connectivity in 3D perception

4 Jul 2014

It was a month prior to the PRISM meeting in Bordeaux that I joined Andrew Welchman’s lab in the University of Birmingham. At that time, most of the work presented during the meeting was new to me, but nonetheless very intriguing! Getting lots of ideas from the talks and posters and after chatting with the rest of ESRs and PIs, Andrew and I decided to follow an alternative approach towards the question “How do dorsal and ventral cortex interact in order to give us 3D perception?” by investigating the neural connections between these areas.

Before starting to collect my own data for this project, we decided that I should first spend some time to learn the ropes of brain imaging techniques and the relevant software for the analysis. Using fMRI, DTI and TMS for detecting the functional areas, mapping the white matter fibers and interrupting some brain connections respectively, we are able to gain a useful insight into the underlying connectivity between dorsal and ventral cortex. By comparing the changes between these connections before and after training, we can identify the pathways that are mainly involved in 3D perception. By interrupting these pathways, we can explore a bit more the alternative ways that form this interaction and how versatile the human brain is in reorganizing its neural networks for succeeding in a particular task.

This approach is very challenging and complex, but the benefits will be worthy. Understanding the 3D vision at the neural level can provide us with a significant amount of information in order to justify how and why some humans are better than others at discrimination tasks and how learning can affect their performance.

PS: Time has fleet so fast since the last PRISM meeting. Looking forward to seeing you all again in Ankara in few months’ time!

fMRI: functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, DTI: Diffusion Tensor Imaging, TMS: Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation