Research Topic

Representations of visual space in primates

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About this Research Topic

The philosopher Kant identified Space and Time as the two fundamental factors that organize our experience of the world. In this research topic we shall be interested in presenting recent investigations and ideas in cognitive neuroscience concerning visuospatial cognition in humans and monkeys.
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The philosopher Kant identified Space and Time as the two fundamental factors that organize our experience of the world. In this research topic we shall be interested in presenting recent investigations and ideas in cognitive neuroscience concerning visuospatial cognition in humans and monkeys.

There is a spatial aspect to a variety of different visual functions, and it is highly unlikely that there is a single representation of space for all of them. The representation that forms our conscious percept of space is but one of several in the brain. Among the areas of interest here are the nature of spatial representations for visuomotor control of actions, particularly the grasping of objects, and spatial representations for navigation as we find our way around the world. Spatial representations are also important for the perception or memory of objects, not only for how various objects are arranged within a visual scene but also for how various parts are arranged within a single object. One quite simple question that can be posed is whether the geometry of these various spatial representations is Euclidean or some other type of non-Euclidean space. Other questions have focused on function and the role of the spatial frame of reference for different purposes, whether it be some form of egocentric, allocentric, or object-centered representation.

Consideration of these issues raises questions about possible differences in the contributions of different brain regions (e.g., ventral and dorsal visual streams) to spatial representations and the role those regions play in different cognitive functions.

We would welcome contributions using diverse methodologies, including neurophysiology, psychophysics, fMRI, neuropsychology, as well as modeling, theory, and philosophical perspectives on the implications of current experimental work.


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