Invariant Representations in Space & Time
Organisms operate in constantly changing environments. To do so, stimulus attributes need to be extracted that are invariant with respect to natural stimulus variations, such as the identity of a speaker regardless of the distance and acoustic environment of the sound source or the speed of a moving object irrespective of changes in viewing conditions. In fact, the very notion of an “object” implies that high-dimensional spatio-temporal input data are reduced to a low-dimensional description reflecting functional invariances. Studying invariant stimulus representations in space and time is thus a core research focus in the Bernstein Center Munich. The proper transformations may be innate or result from learning processes, link space and time as well as different modalities and act differently on the single-neuron versus systems level. Investigating these different aspects using various model organisms as well as whole-brain studies in humans we foster tight interactions between the respective projects and stimulate the entire center.