Mechanisms underlying cross-modal attention

The brain has the ability to switch attention between our different senses. For example, even if we see the traffic lights turning green we wouldn't cross the road if we heard an ambulance siren approaching. To take this decision, the brain has to integrate visual and auditory information with the perceived relevance of each stimulus based on previous associations, such as the potential warning signal represented by the sound of the siren.

Performing large-scale electrophysiology recordings and using optogenetic approaches while mice choose between visual and auditory cues previously associated with a reward, we are studying the neuronal circuits involved in guiding attention towards targets of interest.

Neuropixels

Example recording during auditory and visual stimulation obtained from an awake mouse using Neuropixels probes. Locations of recorded neurons in Allen Brain Atlas space, coloured by brain region is shown next to the Track of DiI-coated probe (magenta) visible in the restrosplenial area (RSP), superficial superior colliculus (sSC), deep superior colliculus (dSC) and midbrain reticular nucleus (MRN).