Papers for the week, 10/30 edition

Recurrent Switching Linear Dynamical Systems. Scott W. Linderman, Andrew C. Miller, Ryan P. Adams, David M. Blei, Liam Paninski, Matthew J. Johnson. 2016.

The Serotonergic System Tracks the Outcomes of Actions to Mediate Short-Term Motor Learning. Takashi Kawashima, Maarten F. Zwart, Chao-Tsung Yang, Brett D. Mensh, Misha B. Ahrens. 2016.

A visual circuit uses complementary mechanisms to support transient and sustained pupil constriction. William Thomas Keenan, Alan C Rupp, Rachel A Ross, Preethi Somasundaram, Suja Hiriyanna, Zhijian Wu, Tudor C Badea, Phyllis R Robinson, Bradford B Lowell, Samer S Hattar. 2016.

Numerical analysis of homogeneous and inhomogeneous intermittent search strategies. Karsten Schwarz, Yannick Schröder, and Heiko Rieger. 2016.

Unexpected arousal modulates the influence of sensory noise on confidence. Micah Allen, Darya Frank, D Samuel Schwarzkopf, Francesca Fardo, Joel S Winston, Tobias U Hauser, Geraint Rees. 2016.

Vision Drives Accurate Approach Behavior during Prey Capture in Laboratory Mice.
Jennifer L. Hoy, Iryna Yavorska, Michael Wehr, Cristopher M. Niell. 2016.

Amygdala and Ventral Striatum Make Distinct Contributions to Reinforcement Learning. Vincent D. Costa,Olga Dal Monte, Daniel R. Lucas, Elisabeth A. Murray, Bruno B. Averbeck. 2016.

Potent optogenetic inhibition of behavior with anion channelrhodopsins.  Farhan Mohammad, James Stewart, Stanislav Ott, Katarina Chlebikova, Jia Yi Chua, Tong-Wey Koh, Joses Ho, Adam Claridge-Chang. 2016.

Interstellate Magazine: The Art of Neuroscience


Caitlin Vander Weele has been curating a collection of stunning neuroscience images that really bring the brain to life (so to speak). Volume 1 is here and it is a beauty! You can also download the hi-res PDF if you’ve got a spare 210 MB lying around.

Some samples:



Posted in Art

Coherent dots as art


One of the more influential experimental paradigms in sensory neuroscience is the coherent random dots task in which small dots flicker in and out of existence, with some small number of them moving either left or right, like flecks of snow on a windy winter day. An animal – a monkey, a mouse, a human – is forced to say in which direction these dots are moving, a task which gets harder as the number moving in a coherent direction gets smaller. You can see an example here (which is uploaded in quicktime for some reason). Versions of this task have been adapted to other sensations like audition.

I was in Seoul recently and visited the Seoul Museum of Art. Filled to the brim with amazing installations, one caught my eye. Much to the chagrin of my non-neuroscientist companions, I became entranced by a vivid representation of these seminal psychophysics studies. Norimichi Hirakawa, consciously or not, has manifested this ‘random noise’ into a form that is somehow accessible to a broad audience. Think of the possibilities inherent in that the next time that you run an experiment.

(I took some videos but could not find a good way to embed them as youtube and vimeo both attempt to lossily compress it – which is difficult when you are literally compressing noise.)