A Functional Architecture of the Brain for Vision (FAB4V)
A Functional Architecture of the Brain for Vision
Start date: Jul 1, 2014,
End date: Jun 30, 2019
"We are visual animals. Seeing is our prime means for probing the outside world. Although vision appears effortless, we dedicate about a quarter of our most precious organ to this most prominent of all senses. The primary objective of this research programme is to develop a rigorous new view on how the human brain process visual information. This endeavour is based on two concepts: the methodological issue of necessity and the theoretical framework of cortical networks.In the last decades, electrophysiological and neuroimaging studies have identified more than 40 separate maps in the brain that are selectively tuned to specific visual features, such colour or motion. Brain-behaviour relationships inferred from electrophysiology and functional neuroimaging are per definition correlational. We need neuropsychological research with patients who suffered focal brain damage to show us which brain structures are necessary. Only structures that, when damaged, have a selective detrimental effect on the execution of that function are necessary. Other structures that are activated during the execution of that function are merely involved in associated processes.Having established which brain structures are necessary for a specific function, the proposed research programme will investigate how these necessary maps are linked together. As a theoretical perspective, this programme adopts a critical position towards the “what and where pathways” model of Goodale & Milner, the current gold standard. The model postulates two major pathways, each involving a large number of maps; one for processing visuospatial information for motor programming, and one for visual recognition and memory. I have recently suggested an alternative model in which the maps are thought to be organised in multiple overlapping networks. This research programme entails dedicated imaging experiments and a large-scale, neuropsychological study involving four academic medical centres in the Netherlands."
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