James P Herman, PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
  • Laboratory of Visual Cognition
  • University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Human visual perception and visual cognitive functions such as attention and perceptual decision making require the highly specialized processing capabilities of the cerebral cortex. However, it has become increasingly clear that the visual capabilities of humans and other primates also depend vitally on coordinated interactions between cortical and evolutionarily ancient “subcortical” brain regions as well. Work in the Herman lab aims to understand how visual functions of the brain depend on subcortical-cortical interactions with a particular emphasis on the role of learning.

Work in my lab employs carefully controlled psychophysical tasks, large-scale extracellular electrophysiology, neuronal perturbation, and computational modelling techniques to explain the relationship between both intact and perturbed neuronal activity to ongoing behavior. We are particularly interested in leveraging learning-driven structured variation in behavior to understand how groups of neurons guide specific cognitive functions.

Laboratory of Visual Cognition

Education & Training

  • Ph.D. – Mentor: Joshua Wallman | Department of Biology | The City College of New York | The City University of New York
  • Postdoctoral Fellow – Mentor: Richard J. Krauzlis, PhD | Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research | National Eye Institute | National Institutes of Health

Representative Publications

PubMed Bibliography

Herman, J.P., Arcizet, F., and Krauzlis, R.J. (2020). Attention-related modulation of caudate neurons depends on superior colliculus activity. Elife 9, e53998.

Herman, J.P., Katz, L.N., and Krauzlis, R.J. (2018). Midbrain activity can explain perceptual decisions during an attention task. Nature Neuroscience 21, 1651–1655.

Krauzlis, R.J., Bogadhi, A.R., Herman, J.P., and Bollimunta, A. (2018). Selective attention without a neocortex. Cortex; a Journal Devoted to the Study of the Nervous System and Behavior 102, 161–175.

Herman, J.P., and Krauzlis, R.J. (2017). Color-Change Detection Activity in the Primate Superior Colliculus. ENeuro 4, ENEURO.0046-17.2017.

Herman, J.P., Bogadhi, A.R., and Krauzlis, R.J. (2015). Effects of spatial cues on color-change detection in humans. Journal of Vision 15(6), 1–16.

Gray, M.J., Blangero, A., Herman, J.P., Wallman, J., and Harwood, M.R. (2014). Adaptation of naturally paced saccades. Journal of Neurophysiology 111, 2343–2354.

Heller, E.A., Cates, H.M., Peña, C.J., Sun, H., Shao, N., Feng, J., Golden, S.A., Herman, J.P., Walsh, J.J., Mazei-Robison, M., et al. (2014). Locus-specific epigenetic remodeling controls addiction- and depression-related behaviors. Nature Neuroscience 17, 1720–1727.

Herman, J.P., Blangero, A., Madelain, L., Khan, A., and Harwood, M.R. (2013). Saccade adaptation as a model of flexible and general motor learning. Experimental Eye Research 114, 6–15.

Madelain, L., Herman, J.P., and Harwood, M.R. (2013). Saccade adaptation goes for the goal. Journal of Vision 13, 9–9.

Madelain, L., Harwood, M.R., Herman, J.P., and Wallman, J. (2010). Saccade adaptation is unhampered by distractors. Journal of Vision 10, 29–29.

Herman, J.P., Harwood, M.R., and Wallman, J. (2009). Saccade Adaptation Specific to Visual Context. J Neurophysiol 101, 1713–1721.

Harwood, M.R., and Herman, J.P. (2008). Optimally Straight and Optimally Curved Saccades. Journal of Neuroscience 28, 7455–7457.

Herman, J.P. (2007) Our Biotech Future': An exchange (Freeman Dyson). The New York Review of Books 54 (14) 101-102