Neural mechanisms of perceptual inference

We investigate the role of top-down signals in perceptual inference tasks. In particular, we are interested in how sensory signals (bottom-up) and prior beliefs (top-down) interact in the primary visual cortex of behaving monkeys.

We ask to what extent trial-to-trial variability in neuronal responses reflects unobserved internal signals (Denfield et al. 2018, Ecker and Tolias 2014) such as attention (Ecker et al. 2016) and how we can read out such internal signals in real-time from the activity of simultaneously recorded populations of neurons (Ecker et al. 2014).

For this project we collaborate with the labs of Andreas Tolias at Baylor College of Medicine and Ralf Haefner at the University of Rochester.

Publications

G. H. Denfield, A. S. Ecker, T. J. Shinn, M. Bethge, and A. S. Tolias
Attentional fluctuations induce shared variability in macaque primary visual cortex
Nature Communications, 2018
URL, DOI, BibTex

A. S. Ecker, G. H. Denfield, M. Bethge, and A. S. Tolias
On the Structure of Neuronal Population Activity under Fluctuations in Attentional State
Journal of Neuroscience, 36(5), 1775-1789, 2016
Code, URL, DOI, PDF, BibTex

A. S. Ecker and A. S. Tolias
Is there signal in the noise?
Nature Neuroscience, 17, 750-751, 2014
URL, DOI, BibTex

A. S. Ecker, P. Berens, R. J. Cotton, M. Subramaniyan, G. H. Denfield, C. R. Cadwell, S. M. Smirnakis, M. Bethge, et al.
State dependence of noise correlations in macaque primary visual cortex
Neuron, 82(1), 235-248, 2014
Code, URL, DOI, PDF, BibTex

M. Subramaniyan, A. S. Ecker, P. Berens, and A. S. Tolias
Macaque monkeys perceive the flash lag illusion
PLoS ONE (e58788), 8(3), 2013
Code, URL, BibTex