Neural mechanisms underlying normal and impaired decision making and visuomotor behaviors

Department of Cognitive Neurology

We investigate the external and internal variables underlying normal and impaired decision making and visuomotor behaviors that require the transformation between spatial reference frames such as reaching and grasping. To this end we perform intracranial recordings and fMRI studies in monkeys and humans and study the behavioral and neural consequences of structural and reversible brain lesions. In both monkeys and human patients we have a special focus on the contribution of higher-order thalamic nuclei such as the pulvinar on those behaviors and their causal influence on activity in fronto-parietal cortex.

  • Thalamic contributions to spatial decision making
  • Spatial decision making in human patients with thalamic lesions
  • Contribution of the thalamus to visually-guided reach and grasping
  • Impact of stroke in thalamic nuclei on reach and grasp behavior
  • Bihemispheric effects of pulvinar inactivation on reach representations in parietal cortex
  • Thalamic Contributions to Internal Models for Motor Control

Recent Publications

  • Kagan I*, Gibson L, Spanou E, Wilke M. Effective connectivity and spatial selectivity-dependent fMRI changes elicited by microstimulation of pulvinar and LIP. NeuroImage. 2021. 118283.
  • Schneider L, Dominguez-Vargas, A, Gibson L, Kagan I*, Wilke M.*Eye position signals in the dorsal pulvinar during fixation and goal-directed saccades. Journal of Neurophysiology. 2020 Jan 1;123(1):367-391.
  • Wilke M, Schneider L, Dominguez-Vargas A, Schmidt-Samoa C, Miloserdov K, Nazzal A, Cabral-Calderin Y, Dechent P, Scherberger H, Kagan I, Bähr M. Reach and grasp deficits following damage to the dorsal pulvinar. Cortex. 2018. 99:135-149.
  • Dominguez-Vargas A, Schneider L, Wilke M*, Kagan I*. Electrical Microstimulation of the Pulvinar Biases Saccade Choices and Reaction Times in a Time-Dependent Manner. Journal of Neuroscience. 2017. Feb 22;37(8):2234-2257.

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