Thesis defense Pim Mostert (Donders series 355)
24 January 2019
The dynamics of visual representations under top-down modulation
How does the brain process visual information, originating from the eyes, in order for us to see? Contrary to common belief, visual perception does not occur passively, but is instead heavily influenced by high-level factors such as expectations and decision making. In my work, I studied how exactly visual information is influenced by these factors, and in particular the temporal evolution thereof over tens of milliseconds. Using magnetoencephalography, I conducted four experiments involving human volunteers to address this question in a variety of domains. One remarkable and consistent finding was that the brain is able to intrinsically generate structured neural activity - as if a particular visual stimulus was presented, even if it wasn't in reality. These studies contribute to our understanding of how the algorithms underlying visual perception are implemented in the brain.