Dec. 05, 2018

Building 51 room 015

Dear members, students and guests of the Zlotowski center for Neuroscience,


Our next seminar will be held on Wednesday, December 5th, 16:00

Venue: Building 51 room 015


"Paving the road to naturalistic perception:

From functional specificity to perceptual integration?"

         Presented by

Dr. Talia Brandman

Department of Neurobiology

 Weizmann Institute



While we are well familiar with the islands of functionality in our brain, little is known about the bridges that integrate them to form coherent perception in real life. Traditionally, functional modularity describes the encapsulation of each perceptual sub-system as an isolate module, impenetrable to external inputs. Modularity corresponds with fundamental principles of perception such as hierarchical processing and category-specificity. These were established using reductionist paradigms, highly effective in mapping isolated perceptual elements onto localized neural modules. They have demonstrated the dissociative aspects of perceptual modularity, such as in the specialized processing of visual categories. Yet real-life perception is complex and multisensory in nature, supported by interaction of concurrent mechanisms. Through a series of behavioral, neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies, I will present how distinct modules of perception interact to form coherent vision and neural representations in visual cortex. Particularly, we find that when intrinsic category information is insufficient, as in a degraded object, category-selective representations are contextually shaped by extrinsic cues, including the background scene, sound and semantic information. Thereby, perceptual integration reproduces neural response patterns typical to intact stimuli of the degraded category. This suggests that even distinct processing pathways in the visual system do not operate in isolation, but rather, intra and extra-visual interactions compensate for missing visual information. The brain fills in the blanks by combining multiple sources, building on past experience of co-occurring activation. Thus, to characterize perception in everyday life, I propose a shift in perspective from local to global, from modular to integrative.

If you wish to meet Dr. Talia Brandman in person please contact Orit at


Please note that the talk will begin at 16:00 exactly.


See you all,

Hava Golan, Seminar coordinator