Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mental time keeping scholar - Dr. Buonomano

In a prior post I announced the IQ Brain Clock blog "Mental Timing Scholars" link section (see side panel of this blog). Today I added a fifth researcher to this scholar honor role. This post is to highlight Dr. Dean Buonomano's research.

Below is a brief listing of his mental timing/temporal processing research interests (lifted from his lab web page). Although difficult for me to read (I'm still reading and rereading it), I've found his recent article with Dr. Karmarkar (Timing in the Absence of Clocks: Encoding Time in Neural Network States) particularly interesting since it suggests an alternative to the dominant internal mental clock theoretical/conceptual explanation for mental timing (a link to the article is provided in "key research articles" section of this blog).

  • Sensory stimuli, such as speech, are rich in temporal information on the time scale of tens to hundreds of milliseconds. The primary goal of my laboratory is to understand the neural basis of temporal information processing. Specifically, how do neurons develop selective responses to temporal characteristics such as the order, duration and intervals of different stimulus features' To answer this question the main approaches in my laboratory involve: (1) studying how cortical neural networks respond to temporal stimuli; (2) the characterization of time-dependent neuronal properties, and (3) studying short- and long-term synaptic plasticity. In parallel with these studies my laboratory also relies on computer simulations of artificial neural networks, and behavioral experiments aimed at characterizing temporal processing. Together these different approaches will be used to attempt to generate a theory of how the nervous system recognizes and categorizes complex sensory stimuli.
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