Graduate School of Frontier Biosciences, Osaka University


Study Abroad Program

The followings are the students' reports on overseas activities including poster sessions, oral sessions, or heated discussions at the international meetings. These precious experiences will provide great benefit for their studies, as well as minds.

*This program is supported by "Takuetsu", one of the subsidies of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.

Mohammad Abdolrahmani
Mohammad Abdolrahmani

The 36th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) and visiting neurophysiology laboratories in Catholics University (KU) of Leuven

2013.8.24 - 9.1

Mohammad Abdolrahmani
( Graduate School of Frontier Bioscience, Osaka University / Supervisor: Professor Ichiro Fujita)


Laboratories I visited in KU Leuven, Neurophysiology Group:
Professor Peter Janssen's Laboratory
Professor Rufin Vogels' Laboratory
Professor Vanduffels laboratory

Participation in the conference on visual perception: I attended several interesting lectures and short talks during the conference. I learned about recent psychophysical studies about depth and motion perception and some other research areas. The most interesting talk was that primary visual area has a role in attention in a bottom up mechanism. There were some other studies about attentional modulation of neural responses. In general there were a wide variety of talks and posters and I found it useful to learn a bit about most of them.

Giving a talk in the conference: I gave an oral presentation on 28th of August, about how the stereoscopic (3D) depth is represented on the pooled but not single unit activity of visual area V4. There were a few questions. For instance where the pooling of V4 responses occurs, being asked by the chairman of the session. This is a very important question that we should consider in writing our manuscript. Another question was about the task of the subject and if the experiments were done in awake or anesthetic conditions. All the questions were quite important and I am going to find the best response to them and to add them in my manuscript. After my talk, we had a long discussion with Dr. Lee about whether the amplitude ratio of the responses to anti-correlated stimuli correlates with the receptive field eccentricity of V4 neurons. Our data analysis showed that there were no significant correlations between them.

Visiting three laboratories in Neurophysiology Group at KU Leuven University: Firstly, I was lectured about the experiments being done on inferior temporal (IT) cortex and several other brain areas such as premotor cortex, about how 3D objects are perceived and coded in IT and how neural responses in premotor cortex change during grasping tasks. Then I observed some experiments both in neurophysiology and fMRI in primates. I visited the experimental setups and discussed and compared them with our setups in Osaka University. Most interesting experiments were training monkeys to do perceptual tasks. Several fMRI setups were also available for mapping the target areas of the brain.

Giving a talk about my research results: I gave a talk for around 30 ~ 40 minutes about my neurophysiology findings and the model of V4 population coding and how the binocular depth is coded in the pooled activity of visual area V4. I was asked several questions about the reliability of the model and if it can be generalized for other perceptual tasks such as orientation perception. I explained the details of the pooling model and the attendees finally agreed that this model is reliable for binocular depth perception. There were several questions about the data analyses and disparity tuning properties of visual area V4.

Discussions about our research findings and the experiments: After the talk, we had a long discussion with the members of the three laboratories about my findings and about their works. For instance I listened to a detailed poster presentation of one of the students about perceptual learning and about how visual area V4 neuronal responses are modified after learning procedure is completed. These neurons could also respond to untrained stimuli and their responses were correlated with orientation discrimination of the monkeys as the monkeys learned the tasks and transformed the learned skill to untrained conditions. I also discussed about how the monkeys are trained and how they map the visual areas using fMRI. The mapping with fMRI is advantageous in finding the target areas in a fast and precise way.