Perceptual decision-making for dummies

This week, Journal of Neuroscience published the Journal Club commentary I’ve written with Tom Pfeffer, in which we discuss this paper by Simon Kelly and Redmond O’Connell. In short, we weigh the pros and cons about an electrophysiological signature of evidence accumulation in humans they claim to have found, and discuss what such a signature should look like in the brain.

Why is this interesting and important? The study of perceptual decision-making deals with the way in which our brain transforms incoming sensory information into an action. This is something you do all day, every day: you check the street for cars to decide if you can safely cross the road, look at a crowd at people and try and recognise your friend before waving at them, or browse through the menu at a restaurant to order the dish you’ll enjoy most. Continue reading “Perceptual decision-making for dummies”

RiSE intern Samara Green

I’m delighted that this summer, Samara Green will join us in Hamburg as a RiSE intern. The RiSE internship program allows undergraduate students from the United States, Canada and the UK to spend three months working with a research group in Germany. Samara just finished her fourth year of the combined Biology and Psychology degree (BSc) at the University of Victoria in Canada. She has been working as a research assistant in the Visual Cognition Lab, where she helped run behavioural and EEG experiments. Samara is also interested in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and has helped develop an iPad app that helps children with ASD develop skills in identity recognition, eye gaze, and emotion recognition.

This summer, Samara will be assisting with pharmacology and MEG data acquisition, learn more about programming and electrophysiological data analysis, and explore Germany.

Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting

I just heard that I have been selected to attend the 64th Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting in Physiology/Medicine. This annual meeting, which takes place in the South of Germany this summer, brings together Nobel Laureates and around 600 young researchers from 80 countries for a week of discussions, lectures and masterclasses. Topics such as the future of research in physiology, global health and medical care in developing countries will be discussed. Extra cool is that this year is the first time that there are more female than male young scientists invited to the meeting. I am very excited to have been selected for this unique meeting!

Software for (neuro)science

Since I started my PhD a few months ago, I have been thinking about the various bits of software I use for my research. I spend most of my days behind a computer – searching and reading papers, programming and analysing data. Although some pieces of software are widespread and easy to use when collaborating, there are a great many personal choices to make in computer languages and interfaces. So as a re-start to my new blog, here are some personal considerations and bits of computer goodness I tend to use.Continue reading “Software for (neuro)science”