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Freiburg Neuroscience & Neurotechnology Lectures

Israel Nelken: Towards a high-definition study of brains and behavior – technology, theory, and preliminary results

ELSC Edmond & Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences, Israel [NEUROSCIENCE & NEUROTECHNOLOGY LECTURE SERIES]
When Jan 20, 2021
from 12:15 PM to 02:00 PM
Where Zoom Meeting
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Brain activity varies at fast, sub-seconds time scales: perception as well as motor planning and execution may occur at rates of 10/s. In contrast, behavior in many neuroscientific studies employ temporally-coarse measures, often limited just to the success or failure in a trial. This discrepancy limits the explanatory power of neural accounts of behavior.

To bridge this gap, we develop theoretical and experimental tools for a ‘high-definition’ description of behavior – the sequence of decisions that animals take at a high temporal resolution (currently at about 10 Hz, but ideally at ~100 Hz). To keep a high level of experimental control, the setup implements Markov Decision Processes (MDPs), whose theory is well understood. Rats do not follow the optimal policies, and I will describe how we define the complexity of behavior from first principles, estimate it from data, and relate it to the concomitant neural activity.


The talk will be held online via Zoom

Meeting ID and password will be sent with e-mail invitation. You can also send an e-mail to for meeting ID and password.


More about the speaker and his research:

Israel Nelken


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