Laboratory of
Neuronal Mechanism of Cognition
Research Interests

We are interested in understanding the neuronal basis of cognitive functions. We use visual, oculomotor and manual systems as behavior model to assess how cognitive functions affect the visual perception, ocular movement, hand movement and, more importantly, sensorimotor transduction/integration. Currently, we are particularly interested in understanding the neuronal mechanism of two cognitive functions: visual stability and attention modulation. We will combine several research techniques together, such as the classical psychophysical experiments, brain imaging techniques and electrophysiological techniques, working with human subjects and non-human primates to try to discover the relationship between mind and brain.

The neuronal mechanism of visual stability
In average, we make 3-5 times saccadic eye movement per second. As a result, the image of the stilled objects inside the visual field sweeps on the retina accompanying with each eye movement. However, regardless of the frequently moving of our eye, perceptually normal people doní»t see the stilled objects changing their spatial locations. Such phenomenon, i.e. the capability to perceive a stabilized visual world, has been noticed for more than a century. Nevertheless, the neuronal mechanism underlying it remains greatly unknown. One of our research interests is focused on discovering the neuronal basis of visual stability.

The mechanism of attention modulation in sensorimotor transformation
It has been known for a very long time that attention vigorously influences our behavior performance. However, up to date, there is no a general agreement about how attention modulates the function of neuronal circuitries. Another branch of our research interest is focused on how visual attention affects the process of visuomotor transduction to generate saccadic eye movements.

  

Zhang, Ming-Sha, Ph.D.

Investigator
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