Seminars

Members of the general public are welcome to attend our seminars. However space is limited so if you would like to attend, please ring Sandra Smith at least 24 hours prior to the seminar on 0115 823 2634 to reserve a place. If Sandra Smith is unavailable contact Jan Kelly on 0115 823 2617 or contact reception on 0115 823 2600.

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23 March 2015

Predictive coding of auditory and contextual information in early visual cortex – evidence from layer specific 7T fMRI brain reading

Presenter(s): Professor Lars Muckli
Time: 13.00 -14.00
Location: NHBRU, Meeting Room 1

Abstract:

Abstract
David Mumford (1991) proposed a role for reciprocal topographic cortical pathways in which higher areas send abstract predictions of the world to lower cortical areas. At lower cortical areas, top-down predictions are then compared to the incoming sensory stimulation. One question that arises within this framework is the following: Do descending predictions remain abstract, or do they translate into concrete level predictions, the ‘language’ of lower visual areas? We have exploited a strategy in which feedforward information is blocked or absent in parts of visual cortex: i.e. along the non-stimulated apparent motion path, behind a white square that we used to occlude natural visual scenes, or by blindfolding our subjects (Muckli & Petro 2013). By presenting visual illusions, contextual scene information, or by playing sounds, we were able to capture feedback signals to non-feedforwardly-stimulated areas of visual cortex. MVPA analysis of the feedback signals reveals that they are more abstract than the feedforward signal. Furthermore, using high resolution MRI, we found that feedback is sent to the outer cortical layers of V1. We also show that feedback to V1 is induced even by auditory information processing (Vetter, Smith & Muckli 2014). Auditory-induced feedback is especially strong in the periphery of V1, and contains abstract categorical information. I argue that these feedback signals function to provide abstract predictions, i.e. priors in a Bayesian framework, biasing future processing already at an early processing stage of V1.
References:
Mumford (1991) On the computational architecture of the neocortex – the role of the thalamocortical loop. Biol Cybernetics
Muckli & Petro (2013) Network interactions: non-geniculate input to V1. Curr Opin Neurobiol.
Vetter, Smith & Muckli (2014) Decoding Sound and Imagery Content in Early Visual Cortex. Current Biology
Clark (2013) Whatever Next? Predictive Brains, Situated Agents, and the Future of Cognitive Science. Behav Brain Sci

Biography

My research focuses on cortical feedback and predictive coding in the visual cortex. We use functional brain imaging (fMRI, TMS, EEG) to investigate how the brain constructs internal models and feeds information back to primary visual cortex, V1. We investigate visual illusions, and contextual processing in non-feedforward stimulated parts of V1.
My research is funded by the EU with a 5-year grant worth € 1.5 million (ERC consolidator grant: ‘Brain Reading of contextual feedback and predictions’). You can find further description of my research, news coverage, and job opportunities on my lab webpage: http://muckli.psy.gla.ac.uk/
I received my first degree in Psychology (Giessen, Germany) in 1997, and my PhD in 2002 for work with Rainer Goebel (Neurocognition, Maastricht University, Netherlands) and Wolf Singer (Neurophysiology, Max Planck Institute-Frankfurt, Germany). Between 1996 and 2006 I worked at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (Frankfurt, Germany). I moved to the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, Glasgow in 2007.

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18 February 2015

Clinical trials on Otitis Media

Presenter(s): Professor Anne Schilder
Time: 13.00 -14.00
Location: NHBRU, Meeting Room 1

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27 January 2015

TBC

Presenter(s): Dr Nathan Weisz
Time: 13.00 -14.00
Location: NHBRU, Meeting Room 1

Abstract:

Please note this seminar will take place at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham

Combining transcranial electrical stimulation with MEG A step towards better tinnitus treatments?

27 January 2015 @ 1pm, MRC Institute of Hearing Research, Nottingham (University Park Campus)

Abstract


Despite some dispute on the finedetails,a growing consensus holds that tinnitus is a consequence of a dysfunctional excitatoryinhibitory balance in auditory brain regions. Different neuroscientifically based treatment approaches have been developed, to which also various forms of brain stimulation techniques belong. As with most treatment approaches, clinical outcomes of brain stimulation are largely disappointing. This of course could or is partially related to our meagre understanding of tinnitus on the level of mechanisms, but also could be to a large extent tied to our ignorance of what actually really happens during brain stimulation. In humans, relying on noninvasive techniques, simultaneous monitoring of brain activity is difficult due to the enormous artifacts that are caused by the brain stimulation. In my talk I will pick up on the growing interest in transcranial electrical stimulation and its oscillatory variant (tACS). I will show that combined MEGtACS is not only possible, but that using beamforming oscillatory brain activity can also be resolved in great detail at the actual stimulation frequency. Time permitting I will show first results from an ongoing study investigating the effect of tACS on the auditory steadystate response. I intend to conclude my talk by discussing the implications of these advances on the development of tinnitus treatments using transcranial electrical stimulation.


Biography


Dr Nathan Weisz is Associate Professor at Center for Mind / Brain Sciences (CIMeC) of University of Trento in Italy. He obtained his PhD on “Electromagnetic Correlates of InjuryInduced Auditory Cortical Plasticity: Implications for the Development and Maintenance of Subjective Tinnitus” in 2004 from the University of Konstanz in Germany. Following his PhD he held several research positions at the University of Konstanz (Germany), University Hospital Zürich (Switzerland) and Mental Processes and Brain Activation Lab (INSERM, Lyon, France). He moved to University of Trento in 2012 where he leads the MEG lab at CIMeC. Dr Weisz serves as an Associate Editor for BMC Neuroscience and as a reviewer for a number of journals and funding institutions. He currently holds the ERC Starting Grant for his research on "BrainState Dependent Perception: Finding the Windows to Consciousness," and is a representative on management committee of the COST Action BM1306 – Better Understanding the Heterogeneity of Tinnitus to Improve and Develop New Treatments (TINNET).
 

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07 January 2015

Tinnitus, sleep and therapeutic approaches directed at insomnia

Presenter(s): Niro Siriwardena
Time: 13.00 -14.00
Location: NHBRU, Meeting Room 1

Abstract:

Tinnitus is often associated with insomnia and psychological distress; insomnia can also exacerbate the psychological distress associated with tinnitus. Our current understanding of insomnia suggests that quality of life in co-morbid insomnia can be improved by treating insomnia itself, particularly using cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), which is the preferred therapeutic option for treating primary or comorbid insomnia. The potential for using CBT-I as part of the therapeutic approach in tinnitus is discussed.

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