Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin Madison (2021)
  • Master of Science, University of Wisconsin Madison (2017)
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Iowa (2013)
  • PhD, UW-Madison, Psychology (2021)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Thalamic contributions to the state and contents of consciousness. Neuron Whyte, C. J., Redinbaugh, M. J., Shine, J. M., Saalmann, Y. B. 2024; 112 (10): 1611-1625


    Consciousness can be conceptualized as varying along at least two dimensions: the global state of consciousness and the content of conscious experience. Here, we highlight the cellular and systems-level contributions of the thalamus to conscious state and then argue for thalamic contributions to conscious content, including the integrated, segregated, and continuous nature of our experience. We underscore vital, yet distinct roles for core- and matrix-type thalamic neurons. Through reciprocal interactions with deep-layer cortical neurons, matrix neurons support wakefulness and determine perceptual thresholds, whereas the cortical interactions of core neurons maintain content and enable perceptual constancy. We further propose that conscious integration, segregation, and continuity depend on the convergent nature of corticothalamic projections enabling dimensionality reduction, a thalamic reticular nucleus-mediated divisive normalization-like process, and sustained coherent activity in thalamocortical loops, respectively. Overall, we conclude that the thalamus plays a central topological role in brain structures controlling conscious experience.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2024.04.019

    View details for PubMedID 38754373

  • Contributions of Basal Ganglia Circuits to Perception, Attention, and Consciousness. Journal of cognitive neuroscience Redinbaugh, M. J., Saalmann, Y. B. 2024: 1-23


    Research into ascending sensory pathways and cortical networks has generated detailed models of perception. These same cortical regions are strongly connected to subcortical structures, such as the basal ganglia (BG), which have been conceptualized as playing key roles in reinforcement learning and action selection. However, because the BG amasses experiential evidence from higher and lower levels of cortical hierarchies, as well as higher-order thalamus, it is well positioned to dynamically influence perception. Here, we review anatomical, functional, and clinical evidence to demonstrate how the BG can influence perceptual processing and conscious states. This depends on the integrative relationship between cortex, BG, and thalamus, which allows contributions to sensory gating, predictive processing, selective attention, and representation of the temporal structure of events.

    View details for DOI 10.1162/jocn_a_02177

    View details for PubMedID 38695762