Jochen Ditterich

Picture of Jochen Ditterich

Position Title

  • Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
  • Center for Neuroscience
1544 Newton Ct

Research Interests

Our lab is interested in neural mechanisms underlying higher-order brain functions linking perception and action, especially decision-making. We are addressing the question how the brain processes sensory information and combines it with other information in order to select what action to take next and when to take that action. These mechanisms have mainly been studied from a psychological point of view, whereas neurophysiologists have largely concentrated on lower-level mechanisms. We are bridging this gap by utilizing both behavioral and neurophysiological methods and by using mathematical models for exploring potential neural mechanisms. The goal of our research is to provide a solid foundation for understanding human choice behavior, the neural implementation of decision mechanisms, as well as problems with decision-making in neurological and psychiatric disorders.

In addition, our lab is also active in the area of neuroengineering, developing new technology that allows neuroscientists to address questions or test hypotheses that are difficult or impossible to investigate with currently available techniques.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Neuroscience


  • NPB 14 Illusions: Fooling the Brain, (Winter)
  • NPB 163 Systems Neuroscience, (Spring)
  • NSC 222 Systems Neuroscience, (Winter)
  • NSC 285 Literature in Visual Neuroscience, (Fall)
  • NSC 295 Literature in Neuroenginering, (Fall)


  • Ditterich Lab
    • Jochen Ditterich (PI), Hannah Nguyen (Lab manager)

Honors and Awards

  • 1995: VDE (Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies) / VDI (Association of German Engineers) Award for Outstanding Diploma Theses
  • 1996-98: DFG (German Research Council) Fellowship, Graduate College "Sensory interaction in biological and technical systems"
  • 2000-02: DFG (German Research Council) Research Fellowship, Dept. of Physiology and Biophysics, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  • 2009-10: Hellman Family Foundation Fellowship
  • 2016: Outstanding Graduate Mentor in Neuroscience Award (awarded by the students in the UC Davis Neuroscience Graduate Group)

    Professional Societies

    • Society for Neuroscience


    • 1995 Diploma (Electrical Engineering) Technical University of Munich, Germany
    • 2000 PhD (Electrical Engineering) Technical University of Munich, Germany


    Thakur VN, Basso MA, Ditterich J, Knowlton BJ (2021) Implicit and explicit learning of Bayesian priors differently impacts bias during perceptual decision-making. Scientific Reports 11:16932

    Rodriguez Rivero C, Ditterich J (2021) A user-friendly algorithm for adaptive closed-loop phase-locked stimulation. Journal of Neuroscience Methods 347:108965

    McLean CS, Ouyang B, Ditterich J (2020) Second guessing in perceptual decision-making. Journal of Neuroscience 40:5078-5089

    Stine GM, Zylberberg A, Ditterich J, Shadlen MN (2020) Differentiating between integration and non-integration strategies in perceptual decision making. Elife 9:e55365

    Moxon K, Saez I, Ditterich J (2019) Mind Over Matter: Cognitive Neuroengineering. Cerebrum. Published online 2019 Jun 5

    Girgis F, Lee DJ, Goodarzi A, Ditterich J (2018) Toward a Neuroscience of Adult Cognitive Developmental Theory. Frontiers in Neuroscience 12:4

    Anders UM, McLean CS, Ouyang B, Ditterich J (2017) Perceptual Decisions in the Presence of Relevant and Irrelevant Sensory Evidence. Frontiers in Neuroscience 11:618

    Perugini A, Ditterich J, Basso MA (2016) Patients with Parkinson’s Disease Show Impaired Use of Priors in Conditions of Sensory Uncertainty. Current Biology 26:1902-1910

    Shadlen MN, Kiani R, Newsome WT, Gold JI, Wolpert DM, Zylberberg A, Ditterich J, de Lafuente V, Yang T, Roitman J (2016) Comment on "Single-trial spike trains in parietal cortex reveal discrete steps during decision-making". Science 351:1406

    Bollimunta A, Totten D, Ditterich J (2012) Neural dynamics of choice: Single-trial analysis of decision-related activity in parietal cortex. Journal of Neuroscience 32:12684-12701

    Churchland AK, Ditterich J (2012) New advances in understanding decisions among multiple alternatives. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 22:920-926

    Bollimunta A, Ditterich J (2012) Local computation of decision-relevant net sensory evidence in parietal cortex. Cerebral Cortex 22:903-917

    Sperka DJ, Ditterich J (2011) SPLASh: a software tool for stereotactic planning of recording chamber placement and electrode trajectories. Frontiers in Neuroinformatics 5:1

    Ditterich J (2010) A comparison between mechanisms of multi-alternative perceptual decision making: Ability to explain human behavior, predictions for neurophysiology, and relationship with decision theory. Frontiers in Neuroscience 4:184

    Wendelken C, Ditterich J, Bunge SA, Carter CS (2009) Stimulus and response conflict processing during perceptual decision making. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience 9:434-447

    Niwa M, Ditterich J (2008) Perceptual Decisions between Multiple Directions of Visual Motion. Journal of Neuroscience 28:4435-4445

    Ditterich J (2006) Evidence for time-variant decision making. European Journal of Neuroscience 24:3628-3641

    Ditterich J (2006) Stochastic models of decisions about motion direction: Behavior and physiology. Neural Networks 19:981-1012

    Hanks TD, Ditterich J, Shadlen MN (2006) Microstimulation of macaque area LIP affects decision-making in a motion discrimination task. Nature Neuroscience 9:682-689

    Ditterich J, Mazurek ME, Shadlen MN (2003) Microstimulation of visual cortex affects the speed of perceptual decisions. Nature Neuroscience 6:891-898

    Ditterich J, Keller I, Eggert T, Straube A (2002) Modeling visuospatial perception in neglect patients. Biological Cybernetics 86:41-57

    Ditterich J, Eggert T (2001) Improving the homogeneity of the magnetic field in the magnetic search coil technique. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering 48:1178-1185

    Ditterich J, Eggert T, Straube A (2000) Relation between the metrics of the presaccadic attention shift and of the saccade before and after saccadic adaptation. Journal of Neurophysiology 84:1809-1813

    Ditterich J, Eggert T, Straube A (2000) The role of the attention focus in the visual information processing underlying saccadic adaptation. Vision Research 40:1125-1134

    Ditterich J, Eggert T, Straube A (1998) Fixation errors and timing in sequences of memory-guided saccades. Behavioural Brain Research 95:205-217