Robert McPeek, PhD



Neural Mechanisms Underlying Attention and Visually-guided Actions

The long-term goal of my research is to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying attention and visually-guided actions, including eye movements and reaching movements. To pursue this goal, my laboratory uses a range of techniques: performing psychophysical studies, investigating neural correlates, and testing causal relationships between activity and behavior. Areas of the brain of particular interest include the superior colliculus and frontal cortex.


  • PhD, Psychology: Cognition, Brain, and Behavior, Harvard University, 1997
  • BA, Computational Neuroscience, Harvard University, 1991

Residency/Other Post Graduate Training

  • Array - The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, 2003

Professional Experience

  • Professor, SUNY College of Optometry, 2017 - Present
  • Associate Professor, SUNY College of Optometry, 2010 - 2017
  • Scientist, The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, 2008 - 2009
  • Associate Scientist, The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, 2003 - 2007

Research Interests

Eye movements, Visual attention, Visually-guided reaching movements


  • Microsaccades and attention in a high-acuity visual alignment task., Journal of vision, 21(2): 6, 2021
  • Modulation of Saccade Trajectories During Sequential Saccades., Journal of neurophysiology, Array(Array): Array, 2021
  • Effects of a pretarget distractor on saccade reaction times across space and time in monkeys and humans., Journal of vision, 16(7): 5, 2016
  • Neural correlates of target selection for reaching movements in superior colliculus., Journal of neurophysiology, 113(5): 1414-22, 2015
  • The effects of distractors and spatial precues on covert visual search in macaque., Vision research, 76(Array): 43-9, 2013
  • Deficits in reach target selection during inactivation of the midbrain superior colliculus., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(51): E1433-40, 2011
  • Attentional modulation of fMRI responses in human V1 is consistent with distinct spatial maps for chromatically defined orientation and contrast., The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 31(36): 12900-5, 2011
  • The eye dominates in guiding attention during simultaneous eye and hand movements., Journal of vision, 11(1): 9, 2011
  • Attentional cueing at the saccade goal, not at the target location, facilitates saccades., The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(16): 5481-8, 2010
  • Roles of narrow- and broad-spiking dorsal premotor area neurons in reach target selection and movement production., Journal of neurophysiology, 103(4): 2124-38, 2010
  • Eye-hand coordination during target selection in a pop-out visual search., Journal of neurophysiology, 102(5): 2681-92, 2009
  • Differential influence of attention on gaze and head movements., Journal of neurophysiology, 101(1): 198-206, 2009
  • Reversal of a distractor effect on saccade target selection after superior colliculus inactivation., Journal of neurophysiology, 99(5): 2694-702, 2008
  • Target selection for visually guided reaching in macaque., Journal of neurophysiology, 99(1): 14-24, 2008
  • Incomplete suppression of distractor-related activity in the frontal eye field results in curved saccades., Journal of neurophysiology, 96(5): 2699-711, 2006
  • Readout of higher-level processing in the discharge of superior colliculus neurons., Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1039(Array): 198-208, 2005
  • Strange things, moving things, wild animals. Focus on "Neural correlates of the automatic and goal-driven biases in orienting spatial attention"., Journal of neurophysiology, 92(3): 1267-8, 2004
  • Deficits in saccade target selection after inactivation of superior colliculus., Nature neuroscience, 7(7): 757-63, 2004
  • Properties of saccadic responses in monkey when multiple competing visual stimuli are present., Journal of neurophysiology, 91(2): 890-900, 2004
  • Competition between saccade goals in the superior colliculus produces saccade curvature., Journal of neurophysiology, 89(5): 2577-90, 2003
  • Saccade target selection in the superior colliculus during a visual search task., Journal of neurophysiology, 88(4): 2019-34, 2002
  • Neural discharge in the superior colliculus during target search paradigms., Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 956(Array): 130-42, 2002
  • Superior colliculus activity related to concurrent processing of saccade goals in a visual search task., Journal of neurophysiology, 87(4): 1805-15, 2002
  • Short-term priming, concurrent processing, and saccade curvature during a target selection task in the monkey., Vision research, 41(6): 785-800, 2001
  • Evidence against direct connections to PPRF EBNs from SC in the monkey., Journal of neurophysiology, 84(3): 1303-13, 2000
  • Concurrent processing of saccades in visual search., Vision research, 40(18): 2499-516, 2000
  • Saccades require focal attention and are facilitated by a short-term memory system., Vision research, 39(8): 1555-66, 1999
  • The effects of visual scene composition on the latency of saccadic eye movements of the rhesus monkey., Vision research, 34(17): 2293-305, 1994
  • Using locations to store shape: an indirect effect of a lesion., Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 3(6): 567-82, 1993
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