Jochen Ditterich

image of Jochen Ditterich

Associate Professor


Center for Neuroscience
Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior

Offices and Labs

1544 Newton Ct
(530) 754-5084
(530) 754-6987


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

Research Contribution

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.


1995: VDE (Association for Electrical, Electronic & 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 & 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)

Department and Center Affiliations

Center for Neuroscience
Department of Neurobiology, Physiology & Behavior (College of Biological Sciences)


Society for Neuroscience

CBS Grad Group Affiliations


Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS

Applied Mathematics


Ditterich Lab
  • Jochen Ditterich (PI), Cristian Rodriguez Rivero (Postdoc), Tyler Swan (Lab manager)

Teaching Interests

Systems Neuroscience, Modeling, Neuroengineering


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


1/30/2018 4:43:41 PM
  • 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