The role of the striatum in visual selection

Humans are very good at learning predictive relationships between sensory signals and their outcomes, such as how a siren predicts from where a fast emergency vehicle will appear, or how a sweet wrapper predicts the location of a possible tasty treat.

Knowledge of these relationships is useful if they can be exploited to control the neural processes that drive cognition and behaviour, for example choosing where to allocate attention in a busy sensory world to optimise reward gain. Elucidating how the brain uses predictive information to shape attention and perception will offer insights into how what we learns shapes our sensory experience, and may pave the way for interventions for individuals who suffer from dysfunction of the brain’s prediction and attention networks, such as those with Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and schizophrenia.

The overall objectives are threefold:

  1. To understand how subcortical structures that encode reward, and cortical structures that underpin visual attention operations, interface when stimuli predict future sensory outcomes and rewards
  2. To identify the causal role of subcortical brain regions when predictions guide visual-selection
  3. To understand the scope of striatal influence on the cortical dynamics (i.e. ongoing neural communication) that underpin visual attention operations

    Research Team

    Project Sponsor

    Horizon 2020-MSCA-IF grant reference 796329