We want to understand the synaptic mechanisms and circuit designs that underlie the earliest stages of visual processing and perception. Our main goal is to determine the synaptic structure of the thalamocortical microcircuit at a functional level, which currently represent one of the most fascinating challenges of systems neuroscience.
What are the rules that govern the development of the precise neural circuits in the thalamus and primary visual cortex? Could a fully functional neural system have evolved simply by chance? We approach these questions using a combination of experimental and computational techniques, and different animal models.
What if the brain simply used a very small set of universal computations to process information of any kind, regardless of its nature and origin? We use our knowledge of the operations performed by the early visual pathway to probe this idea in other brain domains, such as moral decision making.
Magicians are, no doubt, the greatest experts in attention, memory and social cognition. We take advantage of a close relationship with some of the best Spanish magicians to optimize the design of our psychophysics experiments in search of the neural underpinnings of visual short-term memory, decision making, etc.