Anne Churchland, "A Multisensory Approach For Understanding Decision Circuits"
The Churchland lab aims to define the neural circuits that allow animals to integrate evidence across time and from different sensory inputs (sight, hearing, etc) in order to guide decisions. To achieve this, we join two previously separate fields, decision-making and multisensory integration, and bring this combined approach to rodents. Our current focus has been on neurons in the posterior parietal cortex (PPC). PPC receives diverse inputs and responds during a dizzying array of behaviors. By using electrophysiology alongside optical and chemical methods for manipulating neurons, we have shown that this area plays a causal role in visual decision-making and also reflects decision signals which are independent of their sensory origin, and that are likely fed back from other areas.