Jeudi 10 janvier 2013
In many functionally distinct regions of the brain, populations of neurons form maps
of sensory and cognitive spaces. In this talk, I will explain a physicist’s approach to
the neural topography of information. First, I will review the brain’s architecture.
Next, I will present evidence from the early visual system that the brain minimizes
the neural resources required to reach the fidelity necessary to represent natural
stimuli, given an animal’s behavioral needs. I will then apply this principle of efficiency
to the "sense of place" — i.e., the representation of an animal’s physical location
in the "place cell" and "grid cell" systems, which have been discovered in the
hippocampus and the entorhinal cortex. I will conclude by discussing how similar
analyses broadly illuminate the organization of other cognitive systems, such as
olfaction and the perception of shapes.