Dobromir Rahnev

I am broadly interested in high-level aspects of perceptual decision-making. My research attempts to elucidate the brain mechanisms that influence what we perceive, as well as build computational models that explain current findings and lead to novel testable predictions. Specific topics include: the role of the prefrontal cortex in modulating the perceptual process, the computational principles behind attention and expectation, the mechanisms that allow us metacognitive insight into the accuracy of our perceptual decisions, and Bayesian models of perception as inference.

To understand how perception emerges in the brain, I use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Recently, I have combined these methods by delivering TMS simultaneously with fMRI. Although technically challenging, this method is very exciting for its power to combine the causal inferences associated with directly perturbing brain function with understanding of how such perturbations affect activity across the entire brain.

To understand the principles behind perception, I use computational models built on Bayesian inference, signal detection theory, and drift diffusion. I am especially interested in how these different approaches relate to each other, as well as how they can be combined to explain accuracy, reaction time, and confidence within the same framework.

Assistant Professor of Psychology
JS Coon 130
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Perception, Neuroimaging, and Modeling (PNM) lab
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Ph.D. (2012) Psychology Columbia University

Selected Publications: 
  • Bang, J.W. & Rahnev, D. (2017). Stimulus expectation alters decision criterion but not sensory signal in perceptual decision making. Scientific Reports 7:17072.
  • Rahnev, D. (2017). Top-down control of perceptual decision making by the prefrontal cortex. Current Directions in Psychological Science 26(5):464-469.
  • Rahnev, D., Maniscalco, B., Graves, T., Huang, E., de Lange. F.P., & Lau, H. (2011). Attention induces conservative subjective biases in visual perception. Nature Neuroscience 14(12):1513-1515.
  • ​Rahnev, D., Lau, H., & de Lange, F.P. (2011). Prior expectation modulates the interaction between sensory and prefrontal regions in the human brain. Journal of Neuroscience 31(29):10741-10748.
  • Rahnev, D., Maniscalco, B., Luber, B, Lau, H., & Lisanby, S.H. (2012). Direct injection of noise to the visual cortex decreases accuracy but increases decision confidence. Journal of Neurophysiology 107(6):1556-1563.
  • ​Rahnev, D., Kok, P., Munneke, M., Bahdo, L., de Lange, F.P., & Lau, H. (2013). Continuous theta burst transcranial magnetic stimulation reduces resting state connectivity between visual areas. Journal of Neurophysiology 110(8):1811-1821.
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