HOW PRIMATE NEUROSCIENCE REVEALS THE MECHANISMS OF OUR PERCEPTION

Who does not fear attention disorders? How many times have we over-looked what was right before our eyes? Many are the paranoias of a society drowning in a deluge of information. While we know that attention disorders, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), affect more than four percent of the population and are connected to many neuro-psychiatric disorders, the neural circuits and computations underlying attention are still poorly understood. However, it is Stefan Treue, recently honoured with the Leibniz Prize for his experimental study of the primate visual system, particularly that of the macaque monkey, who is providing a more rigorous description of the correlates and signatures of attention in neural activity, and starting to identify the sources of attentional influences on neural activity and perception. In Berlin, Treue will explain how he is successfully exploring the central influence of attention on our perception and contributing to an over-turning of old ideas about information processing in our nervous system.

Stefan Treue

Leibniz Institute for Primate Research

Stefan Treue is Professor for Cognitive Neuroscience and Biological Psychology at the Leibniz Institute for Primate Research of the University of Göttingen. His research focuses on the process of visual perception and recently won considerable when his research group was able to find out for the first time how different neural regions communicate to determine what to visually pay attention to and what to ignore. Treue is interested in attentional modulation of visual motion and the selection process regulating that only a fraction of the information received by the eyes reaches visual awareness.