All Publications

  • A quantitative framework for motion visibility in human cortex. Journal of neurophysiology Birman, D., Gardner, J. L. 2018


    Despite the central use of motion visibility to reveal the neural basis of perception, perceptual decision making, and sensory inference there exists no comprehensive quantitative framework establishing how motion visibility parameters modulate human cortical response. Random-dot motion stimuli can be made less visible by reducing image contrast or motion coherence, or by shortening the stimulus duration. Because each of these manipulations modulates the strength of sensory neural responses they have all been extensively used to reveal cognitive and other non-sensory phenomenon such as the influence of priors, attention, and choice-history biases. However, each of these manipulations is thought to influence response in different ways across different cortical regions and a comprehensive study is required to interpret this literature. Here, human participants observed random-dot stimuli varying across a large range of contrast, coherence, and stimulus durations as we measured blood-oxygen-level dependent responses. We developed a framework for modeling these responses which quantifies their functional form and sensitivity across areas. Our framework demonstrates the sensitivity of all visual areas to each parameter, with early visual areas V1-V4 showing more parametric sensitivity to changes in contrast and V3A and MT to coherence. Our results suggest that while motion contrast, coherence, and duration share cortical representation, they are encoded with distinct functional forms and sensitivity. Thus, our quantitative framework serves as a reference for interpretation of the vast perceptual literature manipulating these parameters and shows that different manipulations of visibility will have different effects across human visual cortex and need to be interpreted accordingly.

    View details for PubMedID 29995608

  • The point of no return in vetoing self-initiated movements PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Schultze-Kraft, M., Birman, D., Rusconi, M., Allefeld, C., Goergen, K., Daehne, S., Blankertz, B., Haynes, J. 2016; 113 (4): 1080-1085


    In humans, spontaneous movements are often preceded by early brain signals. One such signal is the readiness potential (RP) that gradually arises within the last second preceding a movement. An important question is whether people are able to cancel movements after the elicitation of such RPs, and if so until which point in time. Here, subjects played a game where they tried to press a button to earn points in a challenge with a brain-computer interface (BCI) that had been trained to detect their RPs in real time and to emit stop signals. Our data suggest that subjects can still veto a movement even after the onset of the RP. Cancellation of movements was possible if stop signals occurred earlier than 200 ms before movement onset, thus constituting a point of no return.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1513569112

    View details for Web of Science ID 000368617900064

    View details for PubMedID 26668390

  • Parietal and prefrontal: categorical differences? Nature neuroscience Birman, D., Gardner, J. L. 2015; 19 (1): 5-7

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nn.4204

    View details for PubMedID 26713741