Spring School on cortical feed-back mechanisms in the central nervous system
The dominant view on the cortical neural processing for a very long time was that the incoming sensory information is passed to higher order processing units within a strongly hierarchical cascade. Such systems are typically dominated by the feedforward or bottom-up connections and complemented by heavy lateral connections between units of the similar hierarchical levels. However, the importance of cortical feedback connections, rooting in higher-level areas and targeting lower-level ones is demonstrated by extensive works in anatomy, neurophysiology and specifically in brain imaging in the last two decades. It is generally accepted that these feedback connections convey several modulatory effects, higher-order representations and also have strong cognitive influences on the earlier processing units. Top-down effect include, among others, the influence of spatial and temporal contexts, of attention, predictions and expectations, learning and memory, as well as task and motor behavior related changes on the lower-level processing stages. In the last decades feedback mechanisms became a widely studied phenomenon in systemic and cognitive neurosciences as well as in cognitive and experimental psychology. The aim of COFEES is to bring together eminent researchers from the USA, the UK, and Europe with students of a broad range of disciplines to teach and discuss current views on feed-back related mechanisms. The speakers are experts in clinical, computational, single-cell, EEG/MEG/ERP and neuroimaging studies. We expect that COFEES will give a unique opportunity to present, discuss, and integrate cutting-edge research on this important phenomenon of the CNS.