Vincent P. Ferrera, Ph.D.Associate Professor, Neuroscience, Psychiatry
PI Annex, 5th Floor
Tel +1 212-543-6931
Area of Research
Cognitive/Systems Neuroscience, Brain Imaging
Decision-making; Neural basis of selective attention and visually guided behavior in primate cerebral cortex.
There are two main areas of interest in my lab. The first is the neural basis of visual pattern recognition. We are interested in the problem of how neurons at advanced stages of the visual system, such as inferotemporal cortex, are able to respond selectively to complex patterns such as faces. We approach this problem by studying the responses of neurons in areas that comprise the temporal visual pathway, such as visual area V4. We are currently using a set of stimuli known as Glass patterns in which we can detect the presence of a global pattern even though there are no local form cues. We use these patterns to test the ability of single neurons to extract global pattern information by integrating the responses of local orientation detectors. Our second area of interest is the control of voluntary eye movements. Some of the questions we are currently investigating include the following: (1) How is the target of a voluntary eye movement selected from among the many candidates available in a cluttered visual environment? (2) What is the role of selective attention in this process? (3) How does target selection affect the responses of neurons in the visuo-motor pathways that control eye movements? The goal of these two areas of research is to achieve a general understanding of how the visual world is represented in the cerebral cortex and how these cortical representations are used in visually guided behavior.
Teichert T, Grinband J, Hirsch J, Ferrera VP (2009) Effects of heartbeat and respiration on macaque fMRI: Implications for functional connectivity. NeuroImage.