New views on neuroscience and decision-making from Duke, Brandeis and Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon

January 28, 2015

I started this year off with some travel, giving seminars in 3 places. I started off visiting Duke University where I was hosted by D-CIDES, an interdisciplinary group of decision-making researchers that includes neuroscientists, economists, and sociologists and people from the business school. I met many new people, including Rachel Kranton, well-known for her work on identity, who described her recent research looking at gender effects in decision-making. We found common ground discussing analysis methods for big datasets, a theme that  reappeared during a conversation with Kevin LaBar, whose recent paper used a familiar technique, multivariate classifiers, to predict emotional state from multiple kinds of physiological measurement.

At both Brandeis and Pittsburgh, I was the student invited speaker which is, of course, a great honor! At Brandeis, I spoke with Steve Van Hooser about his recent paper in Neuron (along with Ken Miller and others) about divisive normalization. I also caught up with former  Computational Vision TA Marjena Popovic, who promises to tell me soon how responses of neural populations change following experience with particular stimuli.

My trip to Pittsburgh/Carnegie Mellon capped the trifecta of talks. I have to say that Pittsburgh is a really great city: I had a delicious dinner with Bita Moghaddam’s lab where we discussed, among other things, scientific blogging. I found out from Bita that this conversation  inspired their lab to start blogging, too. And in fact, their first blog post highlights my visit. I also enjoyed hearing the latest from Byron Yu’s lab, especially the work of his student Ben Cowley, who had extensive knowledge of our newly developed analysis techniques, and even described them as “intuitive”!!


The travel was great, but I am happy to be back home at Cold Spring Harbor, where science is progressing despite a lot of cold weather and a blizzard!

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