How would you describe the color of the sky to a blind person? How would you describe the sound of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite to a deaf person? Human experience arises through our senses and based on this experience, our actions allow us to interact with our world.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a long history of prominence in studies of sensory and motor cortices from the work of Clinton Woolsey and Jerry Rose who established a world class auditory physiology group. This group now encompasses a broad range of experimentation from biophysics of signal transduction to electrophysiological correlates of sound localization as well as imaging and psychophysical and computational studies of complex sound processing such as speech. Still other faculty study visual motion processing as well as how visual perceptual mechanisms contribute to the control of voluntary movements of the eye and limbs. Since many neurological diseases are expressed as disorders of perception and movement, gaining knowledge about neuronal mechanisms in the healthy brain is a first step in understanding, treating and preventing disease.