Space, Time and Number In the Brain
Start date: 01 Jul 2009,
End date: 30 Jun 2014
The primary aim of this project is to establish in Pisa a European Centre of Excellence dedicated to frontier, interdisciplinary research of human perception. The research will focus primarily on the human visual system (and its development), but will also investigate key issues of cross-sensory integration. The Institute of Neuroscience has been a leading centre of visual research since its inception in the 1970s, when the multidisciplinary approach of Lamberto Maffei (physiologist) and Adriana Fiorentini (psychophysicist) made seminal and highly influential contributions to many aspects of human and animal vision. In recent years, the focus of the institute has veered towards developmental neurobiology. This project aims to reestablish a cognitive visual neuroscience section within the institute, dedicated to multidisciplinary research into human perception, using modern, non-invasive experimental techniques, such as psychophysics, evoked potentials, neuro-imaging and neuro-computation. The PI has been highly active in cognitive visual neuroscience for thirty years, publishing 150 publications on diverse aspects of perception, including motion perception, colour, space, and vision during saccadics. The planned research builds on these themes, aiming at achieving a firmer understanding of perceptual processes. New topics will also be tackled, such as cross-modal integration between the senses, the perception of event duration and the sense of number estimation, or numerosity. The research will be multi-disciplinary, using psychophysical, neuro-computational and neuro-imaging techniques. Particularly exciting will be the application of state-of-the-art high-field imaging to these important research questions. The establishment of this centre would be fundamental for Italian and European neuroscience in providing a laboratory of critical mass to focus the existing expertise, and to train young scientists within a long-standing tradition of excellence.
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