Logothetis, animal rights extremists, and support

While I was on an accidental blogging sabbatical, Nikos Logothetis stopped his work on non-human primates because of pressure from animal rights groups:

Logothetis’s research on the neural mechanisms of perception and object recognition has used rhesus macaques with electrode probes implanted in their brains. The work was the subject of a broadcast on German national television in September that showed footage filmed by an undercover animal rights activist working at the institute. The video purported to show animals being mistreated.

Logothetis has said the footage is inaccurate, presenting a rare emergency situation following surgery as typical and showing stress behaviors deliberately prompted by the undercover caregiver. (His written rebuttal is here.) The broadcast triggered protests, however, and it prompted several investigations of animal care practices at the institute. Investigations by the Max Planck Society and animal protection authorities in the state of Baden-Württemberg found no serious violations of animal care rules. A third investigation by local Tübingen authorities that led to a police raid at the institute in late January is still ongoing.

Although this has been covered well elsewhere, I figured it was worth posting because it has seemed to disappear into the ether of conversation. It’s just last week’s news! But the effects of are long-lasting. The Center for Integrative Neuroscience, where Logothetis works, has a motion for solidarity which you should take a moment to sign.

His most-cited paper used monkeys to compare local field potentials (neural electrical activity) and fMRI BOLD signals. Here are two relevant figures comparing the two:

logothetis-1logothetis-2

He has many good papers studying vision. He also tried studying consciousness using vision once upon a time. So there’s that.

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