Subject: Postdocs available in Cold Spring Harbor, NY From: Carlos Brody <brody(at)cshl.org> Date: Mon, 5 Nov 2001 01:17:39 -0500
--- PLEASE POST --- POSTDOCTORAL OPPORTUNITIES: COMPUTATIONAL AND PSYCHOPHYSICAL APPROACHES TO SHORT-TERM MEMORY AND TEMPORAL PATTERN REPRESENTATION Auditory and somatosensory modalities. Postdoctoral positions are available in Carlos Brody's research group at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (see http://www.cshl.org/labs/brody). Applicants should have an interest in quantitative approaches to psychology and neuroscience, and should have, or be near completing, a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology, Neuroscience, or in a quantitative field (e.g. Physics, Math, Engineering). Successful applicants will be expected to lead, after any appropriate guidance and/or necessary self-education, the group's research efforts in one of the two projects listed below (one mostly auditory, the other mostly somatosensory). Those who in addition wish to develop and pursue their own, independent, self-originated, line(s) of research will be encouraged to do so: the lab seeks an atmosphere of vigorous discussion and creative independence. Applications from self-guided, motivated, and independent-minded scientists are particularly welcome. Applicants should send a CV, the names of three references, and a summary of research interests and experience to: Carlos Brody, 1 Bungtown Road, Freeman Building, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA. The positions are open immediately; salaries are on the NIH pay scale. ---------- Projects: 1) Psychophysics and neurocomputational modeling of working memory. The psychophysical study of short-term memory has a long history. During most of this history, however, no biophysical neural-network level models of short-term memory existed: only during the 90's have these come into existence. They are now the focus of much research. Our lab is actively engaged in this research, particularly with reference to memories of continuous-valued parameters (e.g. our previous work on such memories, Romo et al. Nature 1999). Most of the recent neurocomputational models depend on assumptions (e.g., the attractors are continuous), or make predictions (e.g., in continuous attractors, noise should be diffusive), that can be tested psychophysically. We are carrying out such tests in human experiments, using the auditory modality (short-term memory of pure tone frequencies). In collaboration with monkey neurophysiologists, our goal is to reveal answers about the neural basis of short-term memory through a combination of computational, electrophysiological, and psychophysical techniques. 2) Encoding and representation of time. How are temporal patterns represented in the brain? And how are they recognized? These are wide open, crucially important, but little studied questions. In collaboration with the Romo awake monkey group, we are addressing these questions by requiring subjects (both monkey and human) to discriminate between two sequential "Morse-code style" patterns of mechanical pulses, applied to the tip of a finger. This simple but direct approach allows us to study patterns defined in purely temporal terms. Our group at CSHL will be carrying out human psychophysics experiments that will help guide and supplement the monkey neurophysiology experiments. We will also be heavily involved in the data analysis of the monkey experiments, and our eventual goal will be to build computational models that explain our combined results.