Graduate Seminar: Computational Approaches to Understanding Perception and the Brain

Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Event Time 05:00 p.m. - 06:00 p.m. PT
Location Hensill Hall 439
Contact Email



Every person carries a data science laboratory in their head. Your brain parses incoming sensory information, discovers meaningful patterns between inputs, and directs purposeful action using its 3-pound, 12-Watt hardware. In this talk, I will cover some introductory topics in the field of cognitive computational neuroscience, in which computational methods intersect with cognitive science, neuroscience, and experimental psychology techniques. Using examples from my own and other labs' work, we will explore a range of methods, including computer vision to analyze movement and multivariate pattern analysis techniques to "decode" and interpret brain activity data. Beyond pattern classification, we'll also discuss how artificial neural network models are advancing mechanistic accounts of brain processing and addressing deeper "why" questions of neural structure and function. 

Speaker Biography

Santani Teng is PI of the Cognition, Action, and Neural Dynamics Laboratory at Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco. Santani received his B.A. in psychology from UC Davis and his Ph.D. in psychology from UC Berkeley, studying the perceptual abilities of blind echolocation practitioners. He conducted postdoctoral work on neural mechanisms of auditory and tactile processing at MIT's Computational Perception and Cognition Laboratory before pursuing a fellowship at SKERI. Established in February 2020, Santani's lab investigates auditory and visual perception, neuroplasticity, haptics, echolocation, and assisted mobility, especially when vision is unavailable. A combination of psychophysical, neurophysiological, engineering, and computational tools are brought to bear on these topics to understand and improve human perception and mobility. Current projects focus on haptic sensing and processing in blind braille readers, as well as the use of reverberation and active echolocation to aid perception and mobility.

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