David Brainard

RRL Professor of Psychology
Director, Vision Research Center; Director, Institute for Research in Cognitive Science
BS, Physics, Harvard University;
Ph.D., Psychology, Stanford University
Office Location: 
Room 417, Goddard Lab, 3710 Hamilton Walk
Research Interests: 
Behavioral Neuroscience
Cognitive Neuroscience
Sensation and Perception
Specific Research Areas: 

Human vision, visual neuroscience, and computational modeling of visual processing

The Brainard Lab studies human vision, both experimentally and through computational modeling of visual processing. Our primary concern is with how the visual system estimates object properties from the information available in the light signal incident at the eye. To study this general problem, we conduct psychophysical experiments to investigate questions such as how object color appearance is related to object surface properties under a wide range of illumination conditions and how color is used to identify objects, and formulate computational models of the results. In addition, we are interested in developing machine visual systems that can mimic human performance and in understanding the neural mechanisms of vision.
Professor David Brainard will be considering new graduate students for admission for Fall 2017.
Selected Publications: 

Spitschan, M., Datta, R., Stern, A. M., Brainard, D. H., Aguirre, G. K. (2016). Human visual cortex responses to rapid cone and melanopsin-directed flicker. Journal of Neuroscience, 36, pp. 1471-1482.

Lindsey, D. T., Brown, A. M., Brainard D. H. & Apicella, C. A. (2015). Hunter-gatherer color naming provides new insight into the evolution of color terms.  Current Biology, 25, 2441-2446, doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.08.006.  Download PDF.  Press coverage: Science World ReportMedical DailyPhys.org.

Radonjić A., Cottaris N. P., & Brainard D. H. (2015). Color constancy in a naturalistic, goal directed task.  Journal of Vision, 15(13):3, http://jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2436912, doi:10.1167/15.13.3.

Persichetti A. S., Thompson-Schill S. L., Butt O. H., Brainard D. H. &  Aguirre G. K.  (2015). Functional magnetic resonance imaging adaptation reveals a noncategorical representation of hue in early visual cortex. Journal of Vision. 15(6):18, http://jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2299548, doi: 10.1167/15.6.18.

Benson, N. C, Manning, J. R. & Brainard, D. H. (2014).  Unsupervised learning of cone spectral classes from natural images.  PLoS Computational Biology, 10(6): e1003652, http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1003652#abstract0, doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003652.  This work is mentioned in this article on the evolution of color vision, in The Scientist.

Benson, N. C. Butt, O. H., Brainard, D. H. & Aguirre, G. K. (2014).  Correction of distortion in flattened representations of the cortical surface allows prediction of v1-v3 functional organization from anatomy. PLoS Computational Biology,10(3):e1003538, http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pcbi.1003538, doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003538

Courses Taught: 
COGS 001 Introduction to Cognitive Science
BIBB 217 Visual Neuroscience
PSYC 719 Experimental Methods in Perception

Robert Cooper [postdoc]

William Tuten [postdoc]
Ana Radonjic [Research Associate]