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Human neuroscience in the wild

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Deborah McSkimming.

Our research questions are centred on a basic characteristic of neural systems: noise and structured variability in their behaviour and their underlying meaning for cognitive mechanisms. Variability can be observed across many levels of biological behaviour: from the movements of our limbs, the responses of neurons in our brain, to the interaction of biomolecules. Such variability is emerging as a key ingredient in understanding biological principles (Faisal, Selen & Wolpert, 2008, Nature Rev Neurosci) and yet lacks adequate quantitative and computational methods for description and analysis. Crucially, we find that biological and behavioural variability contains important information that our brain and our technology can make us of (instead of just averaging it away): The brain knows about variability and uncertainty and it is linked to its own computati! ons. Therefore, we use and develop statistical machine learning techniques, to predict behaviour and analyse data. Using advanced body sensor networks, we measured eye-movements, full-body and hand kinematics of humans living in a studio flat and are going to present some insightful results on motor control and visual attention that suggest that the control of behaviour “in-the-wild” is predictably different ways than what we measure “in-the-lab”.

This talk is part of the Chaucer Club series.

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