Hi, I'm Jacob Yates

I’m a post-doctoral fellow at the Center For Visual Science at the University of Rochester in the labs of Jude Mitchell and Greg Deangelis. I did my PhD work at the University of Texas, co-advised by Jonathan Pillow and Alex Huk.

I’m interested in how sensory signals are encoded into neural activity and how that activity is decoded to form perceptions and actions. To approach this, I use a combination of electrophysiology, psychophysics and computational modeling.

Perceptual Decision Making

Over two decades of research on perceptual decisions have resulted in a simple circuit model where oculomotor areas integrate signals from motion selective areas to form decisions about the direction of motion. I am interested in how sensory signals in area MT are read out by higher brain areas.

To investigate this, I have collected a dataset of simultaneously recorded neurons in MT and parietal area LIP while a monkey performs a decision about the direction of motion. I use computational models to understand the statistical dependence of the choice on signals in each area and the dependence between areas. In collaboration with Leor Katz, I use reversible inactivation to interrogate this circuit with causal manipulations.

Sensory Encoding Of Motion

In a collaboration with Johannes Burge and Kenneth Mitchell, I am using normative models of speed selectivity based on natural scene statistics to interpret the role of external and internal noise in the response of speed-tuned neurons in area MT.