Jeff Back, PhD, PI
Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology
Faculty Network Member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences
Contact Information 

Phone: 919.684.4742

101H Bryan Research

Beck Lab

We are interested in how neural activity represents ecologically relevant information and how neural circuits operate on that representation in order to survive in a complex and uncertain world.  This involves the study of probabilistic inference and machine learning, decision making under uncertainty, complex (often Bayesian) behavioral models, information and coding theory, and statistical (latent state space) analysis of neural data.  Using these tools, we collaborate with physiologists to identify the fundamental properties of biologically plausible neural circuits that are capable of generating observed behavior.

Beck Publications

Lange, R. D., A. Chattoraj, J. M. Beck, J. L. Yates, and R. M. Haefner. “A confirmation bias in perceptual decisionmaking due to hierarchical approximate inference.” Plos Computational Biology 17, no. 11 November (November 1, 2021).

Toader, Andrew C., Hrishikesh M. Rao, Minyoung Ryoo, Martin O. Bohlen, Jessi S. Cruger, Hanna Oh-Descher, Silvia Ferrari, Tobias Egner, Jeff Beck, and Marc A. Sommer. “Probabilistic inferential decision-making under time pressure in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).” J Comp Psychol 133, no. 3 (August 2019): 380–96.

Jin, Miaomiao, Jeffrey M. Beck, and Lindsey L. Glickfeld. “Neuronal Adaptation Reveals a Suboptimal Decoding of Orientation Tuned Populations in the Mouse Visual Cortex.” J Neurosci 39, no. 20 (May 15, 2019): 3867–81.

Tao, Liangyu, Siddhi Ozarkar, Jeffrey M. Beck, and Vikas Bhandawat. “Statistical structure of locomotion and its modulation by odors.” Elife 8 (January 8, 2019).

Darlington, Timothy R., Jeffrey M. Beck, and Stephen G. Lisberger. “Neural implementation of Bayesian inference in a sensorimotor behavior.” Nat Neurosci 21, no. 10 (October 2018): 1442–51.

Oh-Descher, Hanna, Jeffrey M. Beck, Silvia Ferrari, Marc A. Sommer, and Tobias Egner. “Probabilistic inference under time pressure leads to a cortical-to-subcortical shift in decision evidence integration.” Neuroimage 162 (November 15, 2017): 138–50.

O’Hare, Justin K., Haofang Li, Namsoo Kim, Erin Gaidis, Kristen Ade, Jeff Beck, Henry Yin, and Nicole Calakos. “Striatal fast-spiking interneurons selectively modulate circuit output and are required for habitual behavior.” Elife 6 (September 5, 2017).

Chen, Xin, Jeffrey M. Beck, and John M. Pearson. “Neuron's eye view: Inferring features of complex stimuli from neural responses.” Plos Comput Biol 13, no. 8 (August 2017): e1005645.

Grabska-Barwińska, Agnieszka, Simon Barthelmé, Jeff Beck, Zachary F. Mainen, Alexandre Pouget, and Peter E. Latham. “A probabilistic approach to demixing odors.” Nat Neurosci 20, no. 1 (January 2017): 98–106.

Oh, Hanna, Jeffrey M. Beck, Pingping Zhu, Marc A. Sommer, Silvia Ferrari, and Tobias Egner. “Satisficing in split-second decision making is characterized by strategic cue discounting.” J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn 42, no. 12 (December 2016): 1937–56.