Skip to content Skip to navigation

Natural acoustic signals and their neural - Timothy Gentner

Stanford Neurosciences Institute, MBC logo
April 23, 2018 - 5:10pm to 6:30pm
Sloan Hall, Math Bldg 380, Room 380-C (lower level courtyard side)

Natural acoustic signals and their neural 

Timothy Gentner

UC San Diego
Professor Psychology and Neurobiology

Abstract

Acoustic communication signals underlie a wide range of perceptual and cognitive behaviors, and typically drive strong, selective neuronal responses in higher cortical regions. As such, they provide attractive targets for studying the neural mechanisms of real-world auditory processing and cognition. But natural signals are difficult to work with. Their spectral and temporal complexity can be difficult to quantify, parameterize, and model; and their high-dimensional structure challenges many classical notions of stimulus encoding. I will discuss recent studies from my lab that address these challenges, describing a suite of unsupervised machine learning techniques that permit direct measurement, parameterization, and generative control over the spectro-temporal structure of arbitrarily complex vocal signals. I will introduce a topological technique to analyze activity in arbitrarily large neural populations that preserves single spike and single trial precision. I will then discuss recent experiments in European starlings, a songbird species, that apply these techniques to understand neural mechanisms supporting perception and cognition of natural communication signals.

Event Sponsor: 
Stanford Center for Mind, Brain and Computation
Contact Email: 
Laura E Hope <lehope@stanford.edu>