CORDIS - EU research results

Cracking the neural code of human object vision

Project description

Unveiling the neural code of visual object recognition

We visually perceive the objects in our visual world effortlessly and speedily, allowing us to interact with the world. However, the neural dynamics responsible for object recognition remain unknown. The EU-funded CRACK project will address this fundamental issue through an unprecedented approach. It will combine brain imaging methods, advanced multivariate analysis techniques and state-of-the-art computational modelling to unveil the working of the visual brain. Researchers will study neural activity and unveil the flow of information between visual regions with precision in both space and time. They will further investigate how brain activity guides behaviour through which we interact with the world.


At each blink of our eyes, our brain rapidly transforms the stream of photons hitting the retina into a conscious percept of the world as consisting of meaningful objects that guide our actions to ensure survival. Yet, in spite of intense research three interrelated, fundamental, long-standing and open questions about how neural dynamics mediate object recognition remain unanswered: How exactly do the core cortical regions active during vision represent objects? How and what do those regions communicate? How does the observed activity mediate adaptive behavior? The overall goal of the program CRACK is to crack the neural code of object vision by addressing those three fundamental questions. For this, CRACK will integrate in an unprecedented manner cutting-edge, non-invasive brain imaging methods, advanced multivariate analysis techniques and state-of-the-art computational modelling in an ambitious three-step interdisciplinary work program. Each step is marked by innovation that breaks new ground and opens new horizons at the next step. First, CRACK will unravel the unique representational format of each core cortical region using an unprecedented brain mapping approach that combines brain imaging with artificial deep neural networks (DNNs). Second, it will clarify the flow of information between visual regions that creates these representations with unseen spatiotemporal precision by resolving neural activity in both cortical layers and frequency channels using a combination of functional MRI (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG). Third, it will use advanced multivariate methods linking brain activity and behavior to reveal which aspects of the newly described neural dynamics drive human choice behavior. By breaking down current knowledge boundaries, CRACK will provide the empirical evidence for a new theory of the neural dynamics underlying human visual object recognition, and transform the way we think about and investigate sensory processing.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 1 480 576,00
14195 Berlin

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Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 1 480 576,00

Beneficiaries (1)