Multi-Scale Functional Brain Imaging: New insights for biological models of cognitive functions
Functional MRI (fMRI) provides windows at multiple scales on brain function. At a macroscopic (system) level, conventional fMRI reveals how perception, cognition and action are represented in areas and networks. Ultra-high magnetic field fMRI at 7 Tesla and higher enables measurement of human brain activity with sub-millimeter spatial resolution allowing to differentiate brain activation at a mesoscopic level of cortical layers and cortical columns.
Recent experiments show that it is possible to map feature representations in specialised brain areas and to link sub-millimetre activity to cognitive phenomena such as perception, saliency, expectation and consciousness. The high signal-to-noise of ultra-high magnetic fields recently allowed us also to read out the 'mind’s eye' from retinotopic activity patterns in early visual cortex.
Besides describing relevant experiments, computational deep neuronal network models will be presented that may help to explain brain imaging and behavioural human data. The developed computational architectures are used to contribute to biologically inspired robotic systems.
Rainer Goebel’s core research interest is the question which neuronal representations are used in the brain and how they are processed to enable specific perceptual and cognitive functions. These questions are investigated by integrating neuroimaging with neural network modeling and the development of advanced analysis tools. Progress in understanding brain mechanisms are tested by neuroscientific applications including brain computer interfaces (BCIs) and neurofeedback studies.