Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Seminar

Title: From Spikes to Speed - Accuracy Via the Brainster

Speaker: Eric Brown, Princeton University

Date: July 29, 2004 1 - 2 pm

Location: CoRE Bldg, CoRE A, Room 301, Rutgers University, Busch Campus, Piscataway, NJ


Recent brain recordings suggest a link between different firing patterns in the brainstem nucleus locus coeruleus (LC) and different levels of performance in simple cognitive tasks. I will describe mathematical models for these firing patterns, based on phase reduction and a probability density formulation. Then, in an extension of previous work, I will discuss a possible role for the LC in optimizing speed and accuracy in decision tasks, via release of neuromodulators which dynamically adjust the sensitivity (i.e. gain) of neural populations.

This joint work with Jeff Moehlis, Phil Holmes, Mark Gilzenrat, and Jonathan Cohen.