Selim Onat

My main occupation is Neuroscience.

In the past, I have been interested on how the visual system processes natural scenes. To this end, I have recorded naturalistic movies using micro-cameras carried by cats while they were actively exploring a natural environment. I used these movies to train neuronal networks in an unsupervised manner and compared learnt features to the known properties of neurons in visual cortex. I also used these videos as stimuli during physiological recordings to gain insights on the principles of natural signal processing in the visual cortex.

Recently, I started working on how humans make generalizations based on what they have previously learnt. To this end, I am using a variety of methodologies including fMRI (1), autonomous (2), as well as eye-movement recordings (3). This research emanates from the well-established field of "stimulus generalization" following mainly the "lineage" of Hovland, Hull and Roger Shepard (4), and including the more recent computational work of Josua Tenenbaum (5). Furthermore, it integrates work on anxiety disorders, as it is believed that these mechanisms are impaired in people suffering from anxiety problems.

Varela's View of Cognitive Science..

The most integrative figure of the cognitive science ever made. 

This figure has been published in "The Embodied Mind" (1991) by Varela, Thompson and Rosh.

Different directions depict different subdisciplines of the cognitive science. The distance from center represents the philosophical flavor.  While Constructivists are located around the outer shell of the circle, the center part is occupied by Representationalists. The way these latter conceive the mind, is compatible with the view that the mind i.e. intelligent behaviour is a symbolic representational machine, pretty much like a computer. 

These views have completely different opinions on evolution as well.