The primary aim of the Department of Behavior and Brain Organization (BBO) is to understand how mammals use vision to make decisions and what the underlying neural processes are. BBO combines imaging, computation, behavioral analysis, electrophysiological recordings, and anatomical mapping to explore the connection between behavior and neuronal activity.
The research of BBO can be divided into two broad regions. The first develops tools and techniques, which have single cell and single action-potential resolution, for recording and analyzing neuronal activity from large populations of cortical neurons in the awake and freely moving mammal.
The second is focused on understanding the neuronal mechanisms underlying vision-based decision making in freely moving mammals. This involves the development of special multiphoton microscopes and of optics-based head and eye tracking techniques that can be used on freely behaving animals from a range of mammalian species. The use of different species allows, for example, the comparison of how the eye movements of different animals vary in coordination and nature. The overall aim of this approach is to generate a thorough understanding of mammalian vision and the organization of the underlying neuronal circuits.