Dean for Science Lecture 2017 with William Newsome, Ph.D.

Speaker: William Newsome, PhD

Harman Family Provostial Professor, Vincent V. C. WOO Director of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute,
and Professor of Neurobiology and, by Courtesy, of Psychology

Seeing and deciding: neural mechanisms of perceptual choice

Time: 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Date: Monday, March 6th, 2017
Location: NYU Rosenthal Pavilion 60 Washington Square South, 10th floor New York, NY 10012




Until the late 1980’s, sensory physiology and sensory psychophysics were separate though mutually interested disciplines. Relating brain physiology to perceptual experience – the former typically studied in animal models and the latter in human subjects – seemed a speculative endeavor at best.  A breakthrough occurred when rigorous psychophysical and physiological data were first obtained simultaneously from the same subject – awake, behaving monkeys.  This model system enabled carefully controlled behavioral and neural manipulations that demonstrated circuit level mechanisms underlying visual perception and perceptual decision-making for the first time.  Newsome will trace the evolution our understanding of perceptual decision-making across the subsequent 35 years, closing with a summary of contemporary challenges in the field.