Timescales of sensory plasticity

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The brain is constantly altered by experience, a process known as experience-dependent plasticity. Knowledge of the brain mechanisms that provide this plasticity is important for understanding perception, learning and memory, but also for understanding how the brain recovers function after injury or disease.

A striking form of rapid experience-dependent plasticity is that caused by adaptation. Adaptation refers to a process during which the brain adjusts its responses to the current sensory environment. The effects of adaptation are found throughout all stages of sensory processing and have been shown to occur over a wide range of timescales. However, the mechanisms under which these effects operate and their functional role remain unclear. My research uses a combination of multi-electrode electrophysiology and high-field fMRI to investigate the dependence of brain responses on the statistical history of stimulation at multiple timescales. My aim is to determine how different timescales of adaptation are sustained across different stages of hierarchy and parallel streams of the visual system.