University Professor, Silver Professor, Professor of Neural Science and Psychology, New York University
I am interested in how the brain encodes and decodes visual information and in the mechanisms that put that information to use in the control of behavior. My research concerns the function and development of the primate visual system, especially the visual areas of the cerebral cortex. My laboratory supports work on neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, psychophysics, and imaging; the main experimental tool is electrophysiological recording from single neurons in monkeys. We stress analytical and quantitative approaches to the study of visual receptive fields. Conceptually, much of this research draws on related work in visual psychophysics, and on computational approaches to understanding brain organization and visual processing.
I received my doctorate from Cambridge University, where I studied visual neurophysiology and psychophysics. I joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at New York University in 1975 and have remained here apart from a sabbatical year spent at Oxford University. In 1986, my laboratory moved to the newly formed Center for Neural Science.
My laboratory works mostly in two broad areas. The first is concerned with analysis of the functions of the visual areas of the primate cerebral cortex, with special emphasis on the roles of those areas in processing information about visual motion, form, and color. I am particularly interested in the relationships between visual signals in these areas, and the perceptual decisions and motor activity they support. The second group of projects focuses on the functional development of the cortical visual system, and on the way that development is affected by forms of abnormal early visual experience that produce a visual system disorder known as amblyopia. Much of our work seeks to uncover the links between brain activity and behavior by studying the relationship between neural activity in the visual system and its perceptual and motor consequences.
My laboratory maintains active collaborations with other groups at NYU, including those of David Heeger, Lynne Kiorpes, and Eero Simoncelli.