CCN meeting | Evelyn Tang (Rice University, USA)

24-02-2022 from 16:00 to 17:00

A lens into cognition: The geometry and topology of neural systems

I study emergent function in dynamic neural systems such as development and cognition. A fundamental cognitive process is to map value and identity onto the objects we learn about. However, what space best embeds this mapping is not completely understood. We develop tools to quantify the space and organization of such a mapping in neural responses as reflected in functional MRI, to show that quick learners have a higher dimensional representation than slow learners, and hence more easily distinguishable whole-brain responses to objects of different value. Furthermore, we find that quick learners display more compact embedding of their neural responses, which is consistent with greater efficiency of cognitive coding. If time permits, I will also discuss stochastic networks at the molecular scale that support persistent dynamics due to their topology.