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PhD Seminar- Behavioral and Physiological Study of Visual Search in Barn Owls (Tyto alba)

February 20 @ 11:00 - 13:00 IST

At any moment, an enormous amount of information reaches our eyes. To guide our gaze through space attentional mechanisms, act to prioritize and filter relevant stimuli out of this vast flow of information. How does this process work? and where in the brain does it take place? These fundamental questions have been extensively studied throughout the last century. The research on attention mainly focused on mammals, especially on humans and non-human primates. Mammals and birds have been evolutionarily separated for over 300 million years, yet the latest studies suggest that attentional mechanisms are much more preserved than previously thought. During the last decade, the barn owl became an emerging model for the study of attentional processes in birds. The barn owls (Tyto alba), known for their unique sound localization capabilities, do not move their eyes in orbits. This provides an experimental advantage since tracking their gaze is sufficiently obtained by tracking their head motion. During this talk I will present our findings showing behavioral evidence and neural correlates of motion perceptual grouping, and orientation-contrast based saliency. I will also discuss a study addressing how top-down and bottom-up attention interacts in the barn owl, and lastly I will present our study on inhibition of return in barn owls and humans.


February 20
11:00 - 13:00
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