Thomas D. Albright

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Neurobiologist; Psychologist; Research institution staff member and administrator; Educator
Biological Sciences

Thomas D. Albright holds the Conrad T. Prebys Chair in Vision Research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he is Professor and Director of the Vision Center Laboratory, and served as an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1997 to 2006. Albright's laboratory focuses on the neural structures and events underlying the perception of motion, form, and color. The lab’s recent studies of the primate cerebral cortex have unveiled the existence of multiple areas devoted to the processing of visual information. Richly interconnected collections of these areas constitute functional subsystems for the detection, analysis, and interpretation of specific types of visual information. Albright provided the first systematic evidence that humans' perception of motion does not depend on the physical characteristics such as brightness, color, or texture of the object that is moving, a feature known as "form cue invariance." He found that single neurons in a brain area specialized for processing motion exhibited robust form-cue invariance, a discovery that came as a surprise at the time. Albright further uncovered a specific neuronal process by which visual pictorial recall serves to augment sensory data with "likely" interpretations in order to overcome the ever-present noise, ambiguity, and incompleteness of the retinal image. Albright has received numerous awards for his work, including the McKnight Neuroscience Award and the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research. Albright is a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences membership. His numerous publications appear in journals including Neuron, Journal of Neurophysiology, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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