September 11, 2015

How visual information is sent to the brain

Gaspar Tkacik authors PNAS paper • Researcher shows how retina responds to complex inputs

IST Austria Professor Gaspar Tkacik is the author of a paper published in PNAS. In “Thermodynamics and signatures of criticality in a network of neurons” he and his six coauthors investigate how visual information is sent to the brain. They use methods from statistical physics to describe the collective activity in the retina as it responds to complex inputs such as those encountered in the natural environment. They find that the distribution of messages that the retina sends to the brain is very special, mathematically equivalent to the behavior of a material near a critical point in its phase diagram.

Read the entire paper at