Monday, May 19

2:30 PM-3:30 PM
Chair: John Rinzel, National Institutes of Health Ballroom I, II, III - Level B

Stochastic Resonance in Sensory Biology

In certain nonlinear systems, of which neurons are an example, the addition of random fluctuations, or "noise", can enhance the detection and transmission efficiency of the neural networks designed to perceive weak stimuli. This counterintuitive statistical process, called "stochastic resonance" (SR), is well established in a variety of physical systems. Recently it has been observed in the sensory nervous systems of two arthropods, crayfish and crickets, and may be deeply linked to the evolution of all sensory networks.

This talk will focus on the experimental observations at two levels: the individual sensory neuron, and the next higher network level, the terminal ganglion,and introduce human perception of SR in noisy visual images. A simple statistical theory will be used throughout to interpret the experimental results.

Frank Moss
Center for Neurodynamics and Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Missouri, St. Louis

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TMP, 4/3/97 TJF, 4/15/97