Neurolecture Seminar Series

Neurolecture Seminar Series

Imagery is everything

Headshot of Speaker Thomas NaselarisThomas Naselaris, Medical University of South Carolina

  • November 15, 2019
  • 11:00 am
  • Reynolds School of Journalism, Room 101

Many of us spend much of our waking life generating and inspecting mental images. We know from neuroimaging studies that mental imagery excites the same broad network of cortical areas that are excited during vision. Yet there are few models of visual cortex that explain how or why mental imagery emerges alongside seeing. We propose that mental imagery arises because the visual system relentlessly queries relationships between the visual features it represents. According to this view, the existence of mental imagery is an essential fact about how visual cortex makes sense of the world. We formalize this idea by modeling imagery as inference in a deep generative network. We present fMRI evidence in support of the model from imagery experiments that permit estimates of the regions of imagined space and the imagined visual features that most excite individual voxels in the visual cortex. We then describe ongoing work toward an ambitious test of the model in which we estimate network architectures directly from a massive database of brain responses to natural scenes.

Perceiving Faces and Making Faces

Headshot of Speaker Richard RussellRichard Russell, Gettysburg College (Psychology)

  • October 18, 2019
  • 2:00 pm
  • Reynolds School of Journalism, Room 101

Our visual perception of the world relies on contrast between adjacent regions. In this talk, I describe work demonstrating the importance of contrast for the perception of faces, skin, and people.  First I show that the contrast between the facial features and the surrounding skin, termed ‘facial contrast', plays a role in perceiving gender, age, health, and beauty from faces.  Facial contrast is also modified by typical makeup use.  I then demonstrate how contrast between the skin and adjacent surfaces such as hair or facial features modulates the appearance of skin evenness and wrinkles.  This modulation is due to a lower-level mechanism, likely contrast gain control.  Finally, I discuss how makeup and other methods of personal adornment can and could modify the appearance of skin and faces.

The Cognitive Neuroscience of Episodic Memory Retrieval Across the Adult Lifespan

Headshot of Michael RuggMichael Rugg, University of Texas at Dallas, Behavioral and Brain Sciences

  • October 11, 2019
  • 1:00 pm
  • Reynolds School of Journalism, Room 101

I will describe findings from a series of fMRI studies that examine the neural regions, networks, and patterns of cortical activity that accompany successful episodic memory retrieval (recollection). I will present evidence that recollection is associated with a consistent pattern of enhanced activity in a ‘core recollection network' as well as enhanced functional connectivity between the network and a domain-general executive control network. I will also describe findings indicating that recollection is associated with reinstatement in the brain of processes and representations that were active when the recollected event was first experienced. Each of these neural correlates of recollection is largely impervious to the effects of age, at least when older participant samples comprise healthy individuals at low risk for neurodegenerative disease. The implications of these findings for understanding the neural bases of both recollection and age-related episodic memory decline will be discussed.

Neuro-CMB seminar series

Seminars by distinguished investigators are an essential component of the graduate curriculum. The Neuroscience and Cellular & Molecular Graduate Program's Seminar Series meets during the academic year on Wednesdays at 4 pm in DMSC. The seminar series features invited speakers locally and from around the world with informal discussions after the seminar at the local pub. The seminar series is supported by the COBRE Center for Integrative Neuroscience, and the Integrative Neuroscience and CMB Graduate Programs.

Seminars are held Wednesdays from 4pm-5pm at DMSC 102.

List of featured speakers for the Neuro-CMB lecture series
Date Featured speaker
September 4, 2019 Sal Baker, Ph.D.
University of Nevada, Reno
September 11, 2019 Hyeun Joong Yoon, Ph.D.
University of Nevada, Reno
September 18, 2019 Allen Gibbs, Ph.D. 
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
September 25, 2019 Vincent Rancaniello, Ph.D.
Columbia University
October 3, 2019 Lara Dugas, Ph.D.
Loyola University Chicago, Health Sciences Division
October 9, 2019 Elizabeth Hong, Ph.D.
California Institute of Technology
October 16, 2019 Elizabeth Pringle, Ph.D.
University of Nevada, Reno
October 23, 2019 Sebastian Kadener, Ph.D.
Brandeis University
November 6, 2019 Linda Wilbrecht, Ph.D.
University of California, Berkeley
November 13, 2019 Jaime Voyles, Ph.D.
University of Nevada, Reno
November 20, 2019 Yumei Feng-Earley, Ph.D.
University of Nevada, Reno
December 4, 2019 Cristopher Niell, Ph.D.
University of Oregon