To see is to do: Large-scale sensory-motor coordination mechanisms in the brain
Most of our knowledge about neuronal mechanisms of visual perception comes from experiments where a stimulus is presented while the ensuing neuronal perturbation is analyzed. This scheme has brought us substantial knowledge about how the brain can respond to sudden changes in the environment. However, this experimental paradigm neglects a key fact about perception, which is that most of the time, the brain itself is the one that originates a sensory change by initiating motion of the sensory surfaces. In stark contrast to what happened during this passive processing, active sensing putatively enables the brain to processes sensory stimulus at times precisely locked to the self-actions and thus engage modulatory mechanisms that exploit predictions about the nature and timing of the incoming stimuli. Here I will report studies in the visual cortex of human and other primates, that show that motor signals modulate neuronal activity in a timely precise manner which is consistent with close loop models of the sensory perception.
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