Dr. Christopher Pack
Neurology and Neurosurgery
Mc Gill University
“Plasticity in perceptual decision making”
Sensory perception is the process of taking raw sensory signals and transforming them into behaviorally relevant information. In the primate visual system, this process has been thoroughly studied in the context of motion perception, with existing evidence pointing toward area MT as a critical structure. However, in this talk I will show that the role of MT in motion perception can vary dramatically with training, and that for some stimuli it is not necessary at all. Evidence in support of this point comes from single-neuron recordings, reversible inactivation, and electrical microstimulation, all of which show that sensory experience is a critical factor in determining the contribution of MT to visual perception. This suggests that the circuits that support visual perception can be highly plastic, even in adults. I will also describe a psychophysical paradigm that reveals additional evidence for plasticity, and I will argue that this approach has potential translational value for certain patient populations.