Our brain readily detects patterns embedded in the myriad of stimuli in the surrounding world. Understanding these patterns allows the brain to make predictions about the next pattern or to detect unexpected stimuli. The lab focuses on the process by which the brains learns the structure in the world and uses it to perceive embedded relevant information. We focus on the auditory system.
The brain detects the structure in the surrounding environment simply because it is there, independently of how relevant it is in a given moment. This form of learning, known as statistical learning, is the focus of the lab. Statistical learning is essential for sensory gating, the detection of relevant stimuli on a background of rich and varied sensory input. Because it allows us to recognize normality, it enables us to detect unexpected or dangerous stimuli.