Jacqueline Gottlieb, PhD

Departments And Divisions

  • Department of Neuroscience
  • Associate Professor of Neuroscience
Jacqueline Gottlieb, <span>PhD</span>

We want to understand how the brain generates intelligent behavior - i.e., how it learns, reasons and makes decisions in a changing world.  A central interest in the lab is the neural basis of working memory and selective attention. We investigate these functions in the monkey visual system, and combine behavioral and computational techniques with neurophysiological approaches such as reversible inactivation and single- and multi-neuron recording.  

A central question we address is how the brain endogenously decides how to allocate its resources. How do we decide when and to what to attend?  How do we decide which item to commit to memory or process in greater depth? Our working hypothesis is that such mental operations can be understood in a decision framework as processes that are geared toward specific goals - namely, to learn, reduce uncertainty or acquire information. Thus, we seek to understand how the brain actively controls its own information sampling strategies, and how this relates to the actions and reward structures in a task. We are investigating this process in the parietal and the frontal lobes, two key areas involved in attention control.  Future investigations will extend to other areas and neuromodulatory systems. 

    Education & Training

  • PhD, 1993 Neurobiology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Fellowship: 1995 Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, Bethesda
  • Fellowship: 2001 National Institutes of Health, MD

Lab Locations

  • Kolb Research Annex

    40 Haven Avenue
    5th Floor, Room 569
    New York, NY 10032
    (646) 774-7347

Teaching Responsibilities

  • The Body in Health and Disease, Columbia University Medical School (Instructor, 2005-present)
  • Continuing Medical Education Lecture, Columbia University (Instructor, 2008-2009)
  • Ignorance, Columbia University Undergraduate Couse (Instructor, 2011)
  • Graduate Student Seminar on Cognitive Neuroscience (Co-Director, 2010, 2016)
  • Cold Spring Harbor Visual Neuroscience (Instructor, 2015)
  • Woods Hole Minds, Brains and Machines (Lecturer, 2016)

Honors & Awards


1995   Fellows' Award for Research Excellence, National Institutes of Health

2005   Elected member, International Neuropsychological Society

2008   Associate Editor, Journal of Neuroscience

2008   Appointed member of Faculty of 1000

2009   Chair, Society for Neuroscience Minisymposium, "Cognitive functions of the parietal lobe"

2011   Member, Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Columbia University

2013   Permanent member, Sensory, Perceptual and Cognitive Processes Study Section, NIH

2014   Chair, Society for Neuroscience Symposium, "Attention, reward and information seeking"

2015   Member, Mind Brain Behavior Institute, Columbia University


1997   Fellows' Award for Research Excellence, National Institutes of Health

2001   Sloan Founcation Fellow 2002   Klingenstein Fellow

2003   McKnight Scholar Award

2008   Young Investigator Award (National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression)

2008   Professional Schools Diversity Fellowship (Columbia University)

2014   McKnight Memory and cognitive Distorders Award

Research Interests

  • Cognitive/Systems Neuroscience
  • Neurophysiology
  • Reasoning and Decision Making
  • Instrinsic Motivation
  • Curiosity and Exploration
  • Systems and Circuits


2016-2019          Understanding curiosity: biological, behavioral and computational mechanisms
                              Human Frontiers Science Program (Role: co-PI, with Oudeyer, Kidd)

2012-2017           Attentional control by uncertainty and reward: parietal and frontal mechanisms
                               National Institute of Mental Health (Role: PI)

2015-2020          Top-down selection of task-relevant cues: neural mechanisms in the frontal and parietal lobes
                               National Eye Institute (Role: PI)

2015-2016           Determinants of attention and information seeking in human economic choice
                               Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience Faculty Seed Grants for Interdisciplinary 
                               Projects in Society and Neuroscience (Role: co-PI, with Micahel Woodford)

2015-2017           Population dynamics of reward and uncertainty
                               McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders Award (Role: PI)

2016-2019           Neural mechanisms of curiosity and attention
                               INRIA, Bordeaux, France (Role: co-PI, with Oudeyer and Lopes)


Pierre-Yves Oudeyer and Manuel Lopes

Manuel Lopes, INRIA, France

Celeste Kidd, University of Rochester

Michael Woodford, Columbia University

Developmental Robotics Group


1. Sabel, B. S., Gottlieb, J. and Schneider, G. L. (1988): Exogenous GM1 gangliosides protect against retrograde degeneration following posterior neocortex lesions in developing hamsters. Brain Research 459: 373-380.
2. MacAvoy, M. G., Gottlieb, J. and Bruce, C. J. (1991): Smooth pursuit eye movement representation in the primate frontal eye field. Cerebral Cortex 1: 95-102.
3. Gottlieb, J. , Bruce, C. J. and MacAvoy, M. G. (1993): Smooth eye movements elicited by microstimulation in the primate frontal eye fields. Journal of Neurophysiology 69(3): 786-799.
4. Selemon, L. D., Gottlieb, J. and Goldman-Rakic, P. S. (1994): Islands and striosomes in the neostriatum of the rhesus monkey: non-equivalent compartments. Neuroscience 58(1): 183-192.
5. Gottlieb, J., MacAvoy, M. G. and Bruce, C. J. (1994): Neural responses related to smooth pursuit eye movements and their correspondence with electrically-elicited smooth eye movements in the monkey frontal eye field. Journal of Neurophysiology (1994) 72(4): 1634-1653.
6. Gottlieb, J. and Keller, A. (1997): Intrinsic circuitry and physiological properties of pyramidal neurons in rat barrel cortex. Experimental Brain Research (1997) 115: 47-60.
7. Gottlieb, J., Kusunoki, M. and Goldberg, M. E (!998).: The representation of visual salience in monkey posterior parietal cortex. Nature 391(6666): 481-484.
8. Gottlieb J. and Goldberg, M.E. (1999): Activity of neurons in the lateral intraparietal area of the monkey during an antisaccade task. Nature Neuroscience (1999) 2(10): 906-912.
9. Goldberg, M.E., Bisley, J., Powell, K.D., Gottlieb, J. and Kusunoki, M. (2002): The role of the lateral intraparietal area of the monkey in the generation of saccades and visuospatial attention. Ann NY Acad. Sci. 956:205-215.
11. Gottlieb J.*, Kusunoki, M. and Goldberg M.E. (2005): Simultaneous representation of saccade targets and abrupt onsets in monkey lateral intraparietal area. Cerebral Cortex, 15(8):1198-1206.
12. Ipata AE, Gee AL, Bisley, JW, Gottlieb J.* and Goldberg, ME. (2006): LIP responses to a popout stimulus are reduced if it is overtly ignored. Nature Neuroscience, 9(8):1071-1076 Accompanied by a news and views article.
13. Balan PF and Gottlieb, J* (2006) Integration of exogenous input into a dynamic salience map revealed by perturbing attention, Journal of Neuroscience 26(36): 9239-9249.
14. Oristaglio J., Schneider D. M., Balan P. F. and Gottlieb, J* (2006) Integration of visuospatial and effector information during symbolically cued movements in monkey lateral intraparietal area. Journal of Neuroscience 26(32):8310-9 Accompanied by Journal Club article; mentioned as MustRead on Faculty of 1000.
15. Gottlieb, J*, Balan P.F., Oristaglio, J and Schneider D (2008) Task specific computations in attentional maps. Vision Research 49(10):1216-1226.
16. Balan PF, Oristaglio J., Schneider D and Gottlieb, J* (2008) Neuronal correlates of the set size effect in monkey lateral intraparietal area. PLoS Biol. 6(7):e158.
17. Gee AL, Ipata AE, Gottlieb, J*, Bisley JW, Goldberg ME (2008) Neural enhancement and pre-emptive perception: the genesis of attention and the attentional maintenance of the cortical salience map. Perception 37(3):389-400.
18. Balan PF and Gottlieb, J* (2009) Functional significance of non-spatial information in monkey lateral intraparietal area. The Journal of Neuroscience 29(25):8166-8176.
19. Peck CJ, Jangraw D, Suzuki, M., Efem R and Gottlieb, J* (2009) Reward modulates attention independently of action value in posterior parietal cortex. The Journal of Neuroscience 29(36):11182–11191.
20. Gottlieb, J*, Balan P (2010) Attention as a decision in information space. Trends Cogn Sci.
21. Gottlieb, J* and Snyder, LH.(2010) Spatial and non-spatial functions of the parietal cortex. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 20(6):731-40.
22. Gottlieb, J* (2012) Attention, learning and the value of information. Neuron 76(2):281-295.
23. Suzuki M and Gottlieb J (2013): Distinct mechanisms of distractor suppression in the frontal and parietal lobes. Nature Neuroscience, 16(1):98-104.
24. Gottlieb, J*, Oudeyer PY, Lopes M, Baranes A. (2013): Information-seeking, curiosity, and attention: computational and neural mechanisms. Trends Cogn Sci. 17(11):585-93. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2013.09.001.
25. Krishna BS, Ipata AE, Bisley JW, Gottlieb, J*, Goldberg ME (2014): Extrafoveal preview benefit during free-viewing visual search in the monkey J Vis. 8;14(1). pii: 6. doi:10.1167/14.1.6.
26. Timothy M. Gersch, Nicholas C. Foley, Ian Eisenberg, and Gottlieb, J*(2014): Neural correlates of temporal credit assignment in the parietal lobe; PLOS One, 9(2):e88725. doi: 10.1371.
27. Foley N.C., Jangraw D.C., Peck C.J., Gottlieb, J* (2014) Novelty enhances salience independently of reward in the parietal lobe. J. Neuroscience 34(23):7947-7957.
28. Baranes AF, Oudeyer PY, Gottlieb, J* (2014) The effects of task difficulty, novelty and the size of the search space on intrinsically motivated exploration. Front Neurosci. 8:317. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2014.00317. eCollection 2014.
29. Gottlieb, J*, Hayhoe, M., Hikosaka, O. and Rangel, A. (2014): Attention, information seeking and reward, J. Neuroscience, 34(46):15497-504. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3270 14.2014.
30. Schwemmer, M.A., Feng, S., Cohen, J.D., Gottlieb, J* and Holmes, P. (2015): A multi-area stochastic model for a covert visual search task; PLoS ONE, 9(2), e88725.
31. Baranes, A., Oudeyer, P.Y and Gottlieb, J* (2015): Eye movements encode semantic curiosity in human observers. Vision Research. 117:81-90. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2015.10.009. Epub 2015 Nov 12.
32. Daddaoua, N., Lopes, M. and Gottlieb, J* (2016): Intrinsically motivated exploration guided by uncertainty reduction and conditioned reinforcement in non-human primates. Scientific Reports, Feb 3;6:20202. doi: 10.1038/srep20202.
33. Shomstein, S. and Gottlieb, J* (2016): Spatial and non-spatial aspects of visual attention: interactive cognitive mechanisms and neural underpinnings, Neuropsychologia Special Issue: Facets of Human Attention, in press.

1. Powell, K. D., Colby, C. L., Gottlieb, J., Kusunoki, M. and Goldberg, M.E (1999).: Space and salience in parietal cortex. In: Current Oculomotor Research, Becker et al. (eds), Plenum Press, New York, p. 25-35.
2. Gottlieb, J* (2002) Parietal mechanisms of target representation. Curr Opin Neurobiol.,12(2):134-140.
3. Reynolds, J.H., Gottlieb, J*. and Kastner, S. (2003): Attention. In: Fundamental Neuroscience, first edition, Squire et al. (eds), Academic Press, San Diego p. 1249-1274.
4. Gottlieb, J* and Mazzoni, P (2004) Action, Illusion and Perception (perspective article) Science 303(5656) 317-318.
5. Goldberg ME, Bisley JW, Powell KD, Gottlieb, J* (2006) Saccades, salience and attention: the role of the lateral intraparietal area in visual behavior. Prog Brain Res. 155:157-75.
6. Gottlieb, J* (2007) From a different point of view: human extrastriate cortex integrates information across saccades, Journal of Neurophysiology 97(2): 961-962.
7. Gottlieb, J* (2007): From thought to action: the parietal cortex as a bridge between perception, action and cognition. Neuron, 53(1): 9-16.
8. Gottlieb, J* (2008): Salience. In: The Senses: a comprehensive reference, H Masland and T Albright, eds., Academic Press, San Diego.
9. Reynolds, J.H., Gottlieb, J*. and Kastner, S. (2008): Attention. In: Fundamental Neuroscience, 2nd edition, Squire et al. (eds), Academic Press, San Diego p. 1113-1132.
10. Balan P, Gottlieb J* (2008): Comment on Cohen et al: Neural basis of the set-size effect in frontal eye field: timing of attention during visual search J Neurophysiol. 102(2):1340-1341.
11. Gottlieb J,* Balan P, Oristaglio J, Suzuki M. (2009): Parietal control of attentional guidance: the significance of sensory, motivational and motor factors. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 91(2):121-128.
12. Gottlieb J,* (2013): Slicing a pie is no piece of cake. Nature Neuroscience, 16(10):1364-6. doi: 10.1038/nn.3520.
13. Gottlieb J,*Lopes, M. and Oudeyer, P.Y (2016): Motivated cognition: Neural and computational mechanisms of curiosity, attention and intrinsic motivation, in ‘Recent Developments in Neuroscience Research on Human Motivation’, Sung-il Kim, Johnmarshall Reeve, and Mimi Bong, editors.