Pupil dilation reflects decision uncertainty and alters choice patterns

Three years after starting the project, two years after completing data collection and almost exactly one year after submitting the manuscript, the first paper of my PhD is now out! In this project, we investigated the relationship between pupil dilation, decision uncertainty and across-trial patterns of decisions.

When making decisions about the world, each choice is associated with a sense of uncertainty: the probability that a choice is correct or wrong, given all the available evidence. This quantity of decision uncertainty can be derived from a simple mathematical model. This model gives rise to a set of specific predictions (see top row of the figure). Based on previous work, we hypothesised that ascending brainstem systems, which release modulatory neurotransmitters such as dopamine and noradrenaline throughout the brain, may broadcast decision uncertainty signal across the brain.Continue reading “Pupil dilation reflects decision uncertainty and alters choice patterns”

Rasterised topoplots in FieldTrip

To visualise the topographical distribution of electric or magnetic brain activity on the head, FieldTrip uses a family of topoplot functions. There are several styles to choose from, which determine o.a. if contour lines will be plotted on top of the color image.

Now, the default setting cfg.style = ‘both’ (with contour lines) or cfg.style = ‘straight’ (without contour lines) rely on contour or contourf, which in Matlab 2014b and later plot a set of triangles rather than one rasterised figure. This massively increases file sizes, and can cause weird artefacts when saving and viewing as pdf (elaborate rant here).Continue reading “Rasterised topoplots in FieldTrip”

Postdoctoral fellowship programmes

I’m starting to explore fellowship programs to fund my future postdoctoral adventures.  Thanks to many on Twitters who responded to my request, here’s a list of the agencies and programs I’ve come across so far.

Continue reading “Postdoctoral fellowship programmes”

Prettier plots in Matlab

Rather than prettifying all plots in Illustrator, I prefer doing as much as possible already in Matlab. Chances that you’ll have to regenerate the figures at some point (because you decide to change one step somewhere in your analysis pipeline, say…), and by scripting the plots as much as possible you can replace your pdfs with an updated one with just one click.

Here, I’ll make an overview of several types of plots I use a lot, and my strategies for making them look good. Some final touches in Illustrator might not be possible to avoid, but this should get you quite far.Continue reading “Prettier plots in Matlab”

My favourite (science) podcasts

I highly recommend having some podcasts at hand for those moments when your life involves commuting, grocery shopping, cleaning, running or any other activity that doesn’t require much thinking.

Inspired by PsychBrief (and encouraged by Max), here is a list of the podcasts I currently listen to. I use the Pocketcast app. Please let me know if I should any additional essentials to the list!Continue reading “My favourite (science) podcasts”

New paper: conscious vision proceeds from global to local

Campana F, Rebello I, Urai AE, Wyart V & Tallon-Baudry C. (2016) Visual consciousness proceeds from global to local content in goal-directed tasks and spontaneous vision. Journal of Neuroscience 36(19).

During my MSc at the ENS in Paris, I did my internship in the laboratory of Dr. Catherine Tallon-Baudry, where I worked on a project about the hierarchical nature of conscious perception. This project, led by Dr. Florence Campana, aimed to experimentally address several predictions made by the Reverse Hierarchy Theory (Hochstein & Ahissar, 2002). Continue reading “New paper: conscious vision proceeds from global to local”

NVP best poster prize

At the Dutch Society for Psychonomics conference (NVP), which takes place every other year in beautiful beach-side Egmond aan Zee, I won the best poster prize for my work Pupil dilation signals decision uncertainty and predicts response alternation.

Since I didn’t take any photos at NVP, here’s me presenting the study at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Chicago earlier this year.

DonnerLab now on Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of years now, and I find it to be a great addition to my usual diet of journal-specific rss feeds and PubMed keyword alerts for keeping up with the literature. I’ve also connected with many people in my field, joined the #PLOS #SfN15 twitter team and even got invited to speak at a symposium. See also this great post by Dorothy Bishop introducing Twitter for academics, and another post by Micah Allen asking how useful Twitter is in getting articles read by colleagues.

I’ve now also convinced my lab of the powers of social media, and our twitter account has gone live this week. We will also soon announce our new lab website, that should go live in the beginning of the new year. So yes, you know you want to click these buttons and keep track of what we’re up to!


We’re off to a good start with some great promo: