Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

CPS: Dr. Kristina J Nielsen: "Development of the Ferret's Visual Motion Pathway"

Mon, November 11, 2019 | SEA 4.244

12:00 PM

Center for Perceptual Systems Seminar Series


Kristina J Nielsen, Ph.D.
John Hopkins University


"Development of the Ferret's Visual Motion Pathway"

11/11/2019 • 12:00 PM
SEAY 4.244

Reception with Refreshments at 11:45 AM

Find information about current and upcoming talks on the CPS website

Abstract: Little is currently known about the development of higher order visual functions at the neural level, in part because of limitations in existing animal models. In recent years, ferrets have become a major animal model for the development of visual cortex. So far, however, most studies in ferrets have exclusively focused on the development of early visual stages up to primary visual cortex (V1). My lab has begun to investigate the development of higher visual areas in the ferret, with a particular emphasis on the development of complex motion processing. These experiments are based on our observation that area PSS in ferret visual cortex shows signatures of higher order motion processing similar to primate area MT. Most importantly, PSS neurons appear to integrate local motion signals, as demonstrated by their responses to plaid patterns. These patterns are constructed by superimposing two gratings drifting in different directions. Perceptually, they appear to be drifting in a third, intermediate direction. As in monkey MT, a fraction of adult ferret PSS neurons (about 30%) respond to the motion of the plaid, not the motion of the individual gratings, consistent with integration of local motion signals. Ferret V1 neurons, in contrast, respond to the motion of the individual components, not the integrated plaid motion. Building on this finding, we have now started to investigate the development of the V1-PSS pathway. Our data show a sequence of developmental steps, in which direction selectivity develops in parallel in V1 and PSS about a week after eye opening (or around 37 days after birth), followed by the development of motion integration about a week later. Intriguingly, our data show coordinated changes in V1 and PSS throughout this time period, indicating that interactions between different areas might play an important role in shaping the development of the overall pathway.


Sponsored by: Center for Perceptual Systems

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