Jackie Sullivan on Optogenetics, Pluralism, and Progress

The Brains blog is excited about the next Neural Mechanisms webinar this Friday. It is free. You can find information about how and when to join the webinar below or at the Neural Mechanisms website—where you can also join their mailing list to be notified of their webinars, webconferences, and more!

Optogenetics, Pluralism, and Progress

Jackie Sullivan (University of Western Ontario)

3 May 2019
h 15-17 – Greenwhich Mean Time
(Convert to your local time here)

Abstract.​ Optogenetic techniques are described as “revolutionary” for the unprecedented causal control they allow neuroscientists to exert over neural activity in awake-behaving animals. In this article, I demonstrate by means of a case study that optogenetic techniques will only illuminate causal links between the brain and behavior to the extent that their error characteristics are known and, further, that determining these error characteristics requires (1) comparison of optogenetic techniques with techniques having well-known error characteristics (methodological pluralism) and (2) consideration of the broader neural and behavioral context in which the targets of optogenetic interventions are situated (perspectival pluralism).

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