MAR 14, 2018 01:30 PM PDT

Assessing the Role of Prefrontal Cortex in Consciousness Via a New Metric of Functional Connectivity

Presented At Neuroscience 2018
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  • Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles
      Dr. Peters received her Ph.D. in computational cognitive neuroscience from UCLA in 2014. Her research aims to reveal how the brain represents and uses uncertainty and uncertain information to perform probabilistic computations that produce adaptive behavior, perception, and awareness. Dr. Peters uses neuroimaging, computational modeling, machine learning and neural stimulation techniques to study these topics.


    How does a low-level sensory representation rise into conscious awareness? What determines whether higher-order cortical areas have access to the representational content in sensory regions? Although much evidence suggests prefrontal cortical regions are critically responsible for awareness, assessing trial-by-trial connectivity from prefrontal to lower-level sensory areas via fMRI is challenging with conventional approaches. In this talk I will present a new dynamic functional connectivity metric, based on information theory, that we are developing. The metric relies on 40-way multinomial sparse logistic regression decoding, capitalizing on a 38-subject database for which voxel-based representational patterns have been functionally aligned via Procrustean transformations. This metric may be used to assess trial-by-trial functional connectivity between prefrontal and low-level sensory areas in real-time fMRI contexts, thus providing a tool for rigorously testing the role of prefrontal cortex in conscious awareness. 

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