Probably the oldest principle that governs brain organization is the concept of Localization of Function, the idea that particular brain regions are responsible for specific functions (for example, regions for audition, for vision, etc). An extension of this idea is that brains are organized as maps in which neighboring neurons have similar properties. I propose a new organizational principle, the notion of antimap, in which brain regions are without a map but with a very specific kind of organization.
An antimap is, in a sense, the opposite of a map. In maps, a neuron’s map location tells you what type of information the neuron conveys. For example, in the primary visual cortex, the position of a neuron determines what information about the visual scene that cell carries (its receptive field location, orientation preference for straight lines, and responsiveness to large or small visual features). In an antimap, however, knowing the location of a neuron is completely unrelated to the information the neuron represents. Indeed, in a region with an antimap, the information available is distributed throughout the region, and this information can be recovered by measuring the activity levels of any neurons, irrespective of their position, if you look at some minimum number.
In the talk, I will answer six questions: What is an antimap? Can they actually exist? How would you make one? Are they present in the brain? What are they good for? How can you study them?MBC IGERT Graduate Training Seminar Talk and Dinner
Everyone is welcome to attend (students, postdocs, faculty, staff). There will be plenty of time for Q&A and interaction. Dinner will be provided at 6:30pm. The seminar will be held in Sloan Hall, Math Bldg 380, Room 380-C, lower level courtyard side, followed by dinner in the courtyard outside of Jordan Hall, Bldg 420, Room 050.
*Please RSVP for the Monday, March 10 Dinner to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, March 4.