The kaleidoscopes of our mind: The influence of spontaneous neural fluctuations on the perception of the world around us
05 / 2008 - 05 / 2010
To be able to get through daily life it is essential for us to be able to process and act upon relevant information while ignoring distracting events. Typically, the research done attempting to reveal the mechanism of this selective attention examines the neuronal events after the occurrence of sensory stimuli such as a sound or an image. In contrast, the focus of our study will be how the neuronal activity prior to an event influences its subsequent perception and processing. This is because the neuronal activity prior to the onset of the sensory event exhibits large fluctuations on time scales of hundreds of milliseconds to seconds suggesting our brain state is continuously changing and perhaps updating. We reason that there are states in these neural fluctuations prior to the arrival of stimuli that either facilitate or inhibit the perception and processing of these stimuli. We propose to study how these neural states affect perception and behaviour by recording simultaneously two different types of brain signals in healthy human subjects. We aim to find the neural substrates of what in our mind biases and shapes our perception of the world.