David Brainard

RRL Professor of Psychology
BS, Physics, Harvard University;
Ph.D., Psychology, Stanford University
Office Location: 
417, Goddard Labs, 3710 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia PA, 19104
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 2024.
Selected Publications: 

Twomey, C. R., Brainard, D. H., Plotkin, J. B. (2024). Historical constraints on the evolution of color naming. PNAS, 121 (10) e2313603121, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2313603121.  Preprint available here: arXiv:2305.04345.  Story about this work in Penn Today.

Godat, T., Cottaris, N. P., Patterson, S., Kohout, K., Parkins, K., Yang, Q., Strazzeri, J. M., McGregor, J. E., Brainard, D. H., Merigan, W. H., Williams, D. R. (2022). In vivo physiology of foveal retinal ganglion cells in Macaca fascicularis. PLoS One, 17(11), e0278261, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0278261.

Singh, V., Burge, J., Brainard, D. H. (2022). Equivalent noise characterization of human lightness constancy. Journal of Vision, 22(5):2, doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.5.2.

Zhang, L., Cottaris, N. P., Brainard, D. H. (2022). An image reconstruction framework for characterizing early vision. eLife, 2022;11:e71132,https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.71132.

Barnett, M. A., Aguirre, G. K., Brainard, D. H. (2021). A quadratic model captures the human V1 response to variations in chromatic direction and contrast, eLife, 2021;10:e65590, https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.65590. 

Cooper, R. F., Brainard, D. H., Morgan, J. I. W. (2020). Optoretinography of individual human cone photoreceptors. Optics Express, 28, 39326-39339, https://www.osapublishing.org/oe/fulltext.cfm?uri=oe-28-26-39326&id=444748.

McAdams, H., Kaiser, E. A., Igdalova, A., Haggerty, E. B.., Cucchiara, B., Brainard, D. H., Aguirre, G. K. (2020). Selective amplification of ipRGC signals accounts for interictal photophobia in migraine, PNAS, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2007402117.  Download PDF.

Courses Taught: 
COGS 001 Introduction to Cognitive Science
BIBB 217 Visual Neuroscience
PSYC 719 Experimental Methods in Perception
Callista Dyer [Psychology Graduate Student]
Semin Oh [Postdoc]
Lingqi Zhang [Postdoc]
Raymond Warner [Postdoc]