Visual Neuroscience, Cognitive Neuroscience
Professor of Psychology
Vanderbilt Vision Research Center
Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience004 Wilson Hall
004 Wilson Hall 615-322-0868 (office)
The goal of our research is to understand how the function of the brain gives rise to behavior and experience. The particular domain we study is vision and eye movements. We monitor the activity of neurons in the cerebral cortex of monkeys that are awake and performing specific tasks. Our aim is to decipher the signals conveyed by individual and small collections of neurons. At present, we are asking two specific questions.
1) How does the brain select the target for an eye movement? Neural activity is recorded while monkeys search for a specific visual stimulus that is embedded in an array of distracting elements. We are describing when and how neurons decide whether a given visual element is the target or a distractor.
2) How does the brain control when to shift gaze? Neural activity is recorded while monkeys perform a task that manipulates their ability to withhold a planned movement. We are describing how different populations of neurons control or monitor the eye movement behavior.