What determines the functional organization of the brain? How does it relate to individual variation in behavior? And what are the neurobiological mechanisms that determine the limitations of an individual to learn new skills and behaviors? Osher will present experiments that use a novel approach to directly test the relationship between neural responses and connectivity patterns in individual subjects, using task-based fMRI, diffusion weighted imaging, and functional connectivity. This approach uses voxelwise connectivity to predict the neural responses of an individual, by uncovering the connectivity fingerprints that define the functional organization of the brain at the fine grain of a single voxel.

Osher will begin by demonstrating that the face-selectivity of each voxel in the fusiform gyrus can be predicted from that voxel’s connections to the rest of the brain. He will then extend this approach to the rest of the visual system, and explore other high-level visual representations, as well as ongoing research in the macaque visual system. Next, Osher will discuss a set of investigations into cerebral and cerebellar regions recruited during top-down attention. He will conclude by discussing the limits of an individual’s attentional abilities, and how an individual’s connectivity, measured prior to training, can predict those limits. These studies offer precise and parsimonious models of the structural mechanisms that underlie high-level vision and attention.


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