David Brainard

RRL Professor of Psychology
Associate Dean for the Natural Sciences; Director, Vision Research Center
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.
Selected Publications: 
Ruff, D. Brainard, D. H., Cohen, M. R. (2018). Neuronal population mechanisms of lightness perception. Published online, Journal of Neurophysiology, doi: 10.1152/jn.00906.2017. (Preprint available at  https://doi.org/10.1101/294280.)

Tuten, W. S., Cooper, R. F., Tiruveedhula, P., Dubra, A., Roorda, A., Cottaris, N. P., Brainard, D. H., Morgan, J. I. W. (2018). Spatial summation in the human fovea: the effect of optical aberrations and fixational eye movements. Journal of Vision, 18(8):6, doi: 10.1167/18.8.6, https://jov.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2697364.

Brainard, D. H., Cottaris, N. P., Radonjić, A. (2018). The perception of color and material in natural tasks. Royal Society Interface Focus, 8(4), doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2018.0012. Download PDF.

Spitschan, M., Bock, A. S., Ryan, J., Frazzetta, G., Brainard, D. H., Aguirre, G. K. (2017). The human visual cortex response to melanopsin-directed stimulation is accompanied by a distinct perceptual experience. PNAS, 114(46), 12291–12296, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1711522114. Download PDF. Press release. [There is a link in the paper to a repository with the raw data. That link turns out to have a finite lifetime. The permalink to the data respository is: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4906727.v12.]

Cooper, R. F., Tuten, W. S., Dubra, A., Brainard, D. H., Morgan, J. I. W. (2017). Non-invasive assessment of human cone photoreceptor function. Biomedical Optics Express, 8(11), 5098-5112, doi: 10.1364/BOE.8.005098. https://www.osapublishing.org/boe/abstract.cfm?uri=boe-8-11-5098. Erratum: Biomed. Opt. Express, 2018,  9, 1842, https://doi.org/10.1364/BOE.9.001842.

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 Report, Medical Daily, Phys.org.
Courses Taught: 
COGS 001 Introduction to Cognitive Science
BIBB 217 Visual Neuroscience
PSYC 719 Experimental Methods in Perception
Robert Cooper [Postdoc]
Joris Vincent [Postdoc]
Michael Barnett [Psychology Graduate Student]
Lingqi Zhang [Psychology Graduate Student]