Dr Ehsan Arabzadeh, MD, PhD, Neural Coding Lab, School of Psychology, University of New South Wales.
One challenge of systems neuroscience is to quantify brain activity underlying sensory perception and behaviour. Since the discovery of the rodent whisker-barrel system, one line of research has focused on unraveling the circuits that transmit information to the sensory cortex. A second, more recent line of research has focused on quantification of the behavioural capacities. The opportunity to join these two lines of investigation makes whisker-mediated sensation an exciting platform for the study of the neuronal bases of sensory decision-making. I present two modes of operation of the whisker sensory system: (i) generative mode and (ii) receptive mode and explore which neuronal codes in sensory cortex account for the rats' discrimination capacities.