Percezione della direzione del proprio movimento: dalla registrazione dell'attività corticale al modello computazionale.

Carrozzini, Chiara (2010) Percezione della direzione del proprio movimento: dalla registrazione dell'attività corticale al modello computazionale., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Bioingegneria, 22 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/2399.
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The main aim of this thesis is strongly interdisciplinary: it involves and presumes a knowledge on Neurophysiology, to understand the mechanisms that undergo the studied phenomena, a knowledge and experience on Electronics, necessary during the hardware experimental set-up to acquire neuronal data, on Informatics and programming to write the code necessary to control the behaviours of the subjects during experiments and the visual presentation of stimuli. At last, neuronal and statistical models should be well known to help in interpreting data. The project started with an accurate bibliographic research: until now the mechanism of perception of heading (or direction of motion) are still poorly known. The main interest is to understand how the integration of visual information relative to our motion with eye position information happens. To investigate the cortical response to visual stimuli in motion and the integration with eye position, we decided to study an animal model, using Optic Flow expansion and contraction as visual stimuli. In the first chapter of the thesis, the basic aims of the research project are presented, together with the reasons why it’s interesting and important to study perception of motion. Moreover, this chapter describes the methods my research group thought to be more adequate to contribute to scientific community and underlines my personal contribute to the project. The second chapter presents an overview on useful knowledge to follow the main part of the thesis: it starts with a brief introduction on central nervous system, on cortical functions, then it presents more deeply associations areas, which are the main target of our study. Furthermore, it tries to explain why studies on animal models are necessary to understand mechanism at a cellular level, that could not be addressed on any other way. In the second part of the chapter, basics on electrophysiology and cellular communication are presented, together with traditional neuronal data analysis methods. The third chapter is intended to be a helpful resource for future works in the laboratory: it presents the hardware used for experimental sessions, how to control animal behaviour during the experiments by means of C routines and a software, and how to present visual stimuli on a screen. The forth chapter is the main core of the research project and the thesis. In the methods, experimental paradigms, visual stimuli and data analysis are presented. In the results, cellular response of area PEc to visual stimuli in motion combined with different eye positions are shown. In brief, this study led to the identification of different cellular behaviour in relation to focus of expansion (the direction of motion given by the optic flow pattern) and eye position. The originality and importance of the results are pointed out in the conclusions: this is the first study aimed to investigate perception of motion in this particular cortical area. In the last paragraph, a neuronal network model is presented: the aim is simulating cellular pre-saccadic and post-saccadic response of neuron in area PEc, during eye movement tasks. The same data presented in chapter four, are further analysed in chapter fifth. The analysis started from the observation of the neuronal responses during 1s time period in which the visual stimulation was the same. It was clear that cells activities showed oscillations in time, that had been neglected by the previous analysis based on mean firing frequency. Results distinguished two cellular behaviour by their response characteristics: some neurons showed oscillations that changed depending on eye and optic flow position, while others kept the same oscillations characteristics independent of the stimulus. The last chapter discusses the results of the research project, comments the originality and interdisciplinary of the study and proposes some future developments.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Carrozzini, Chiara
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze e ingegneria dell'informazione
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Optic Flow, Neurophysiology, Electrophysiology, Macaque brain
Data di discussione
23 Aprile 2010

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