CHBH Seminar Series: Dr Devika Narain

Thursday 28 April 2022 (13:00-14:00)

These seminars are free to attend and are open to all, both within and outside the University. Please register your interest to attend using the link above.

We are delighted to announce that the Centre for Human Brain Health (CHBH) will welcome Dr Devika Narain, Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus University Medical Center and Lab Lead at the Narain Lab / Circuit Dynamics Of Temporal Control Lab, to present an online CHBH Seminar (via Zoom, with potential for a small physical audience), taking place on Thursday 28th April, 13:00-14:00 BST.

To arrange a 1:1 meeting with Dr Narain, please contact us or state your interest when registering for the seminar via the link above.

Dr Devika Narain's Twitter handle is @NarainNeuro and she can be contacted on

If you wish to attend, you can register your interest using the link above.

Neural dynamics underlying Bayesian inference of time intervals


Animals possess the ability to effortlessly and precisely time their actions even though information received from the world is often ambiguous and is inadvertently transformed as it passes through the nervous system. With such uncertainty pervading through our nervous systems, we could expect that much of human and animal behavior relies on inference that incorporates an important additional source of information, prior knowledge of the environment. These concepts have long been studied under the framework of Bayesian inference with substantial corroboration over the last decade that human time perception is consistent with such models. We, however, know little about the neural mechanisms that enable Bayesian signatures to emerge in temporal perception. I will present our work on three facets of this problem, how Bayesian estimates are encoded in neural populations, how these estimates are used to generate time intervals, and how prior knowledge for these tasks is acquired and optimized by neural circuits. We trained monkeys to perform an interval reproduction task and found their behavior to be consistent with Bayesian inference. Using insights from electrophysiology and in silico models, we propose a mechanism by which cortical populations encode Bayesian estimates and utilize them to generate time intervals. Thereafter, I will present a circuit model for how temporal priors can be acquired by cerebellar machinery leading to estimates consistent with Bayesian theory. Based on electrophysiology and anatomy experiments in rodents, I will provide some support for this model. Overall, these findings attempt to bridge insights from normative frameworks of Bayesian inference with potential neural implementations for the acquisition, estimation, and production of timing behaviors. 

Speaker Biography

Dr. Narain is an associate professor and principal investigator of the Narain lab at the Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Her group combines mathematics, machine learning, and systems neuroscience methods to investigate how neural circuits generate timing behaviors. Before returning to the Netherlands, she was a postdoctoral fellow at MIT's McGovern Institute for Brain Research. She was also trained at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, and the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Tuebingen, Germany. She holds degrees in engineering, cognitive science, and neuroscience and studied in Bangalore, Munich, and Amsterdam.

These seminars are free to attend and are open to all, both within and outside the University. Please register your interest to attend using the link above.

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