Michael A. Silver, PhD

Professor of Vision Science, Optometry and Neuroscience

School of Optometry

Research Area
Neuroscience & Neurobiology

School of Optometry
528 Minor Addition
University of California, Berkeley


(510) 642-3130



Vision Science 206D. Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology of the Eye and Visual System


Structure and function of the neurosensory retina, photoreceptors, RPE including blood supply. Current concepts of etiology and management of major retinal conditions. Overview of diagnostic techniques in retinal imaging, electrophysiologic testing and new genetic approaches. Structure and function of the early visual pathway including retinal ganglion cells, optic nerves, lateral geniculate nucleus and visual cortex. Pupillary responses. Specialization in the visual cortex.

Vision Science 212B. Visual Neurophysiology and Development


Introduction for graduate students. Visual pathways will be considered from retina to lateral geniculate to visual cortex. Basic organization at each stage will be covered. Primary focus will be studies of receptive field characteristics and associated visual function. Development and plasticity of the same visual pathways will also be covered. Evidence and implications will be explored from controlled rearing procedures and studies of abnormal visual exposure.

Vision Science 262. Visual Cognitive Neuroscience


Overview of visual cognitive neuroscience, drawing from neuroanatomy, neurophysiology in humans and animal models, psychophysics, neuroimaging, neuropharmacology, neuropsychology, and computational models of vision and cognition. Topics include experimental methods, basic anatomy and physiology of the mammalian visual system, motion perception and processing, representation of visual space, brightness and color, object and face recognition, visual attention, developmental and adult plasticity, perceptual learning, and visual awareness.

Research Interests

Neural correlates of human visual perception, attention, and learning

The research in Michael Silver’s laboratory is focused on understanding how the brain constructs representations of the environment and how these representations are modified by cognitive processes such as attention, expectation, and learning. We address these questions with a combination of behavioral, neuroimaging, electrophysiological, modeling, and pharmacological techniques to study both healthy human participants as well as patients who suffer from diseases that affect perceptual processing.

Selected Publications

Bressler DW, Fortenbaugh FC, Robertson LC, Silver MA (2013) Visual spatial attention enhances the amplitude of positive and negative fMRI responses to visual stimulation in an eccentricity-dependent manner. Vision Research 85:104-112.

Rokem A, Silver MA (2013) The benefits of cholinergic enhancement during perceptual learning are long-lasting. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 7:66.

Denison RN, Vu AT, Yacoub E, Feinberg DA, Silver MA (2014) Functional mapping of the magnocellular and parvocellular subdivisions of human LGN. Neuroimage, 102:358-369.

Piazza EA, Silver MA (2014) Persistent hemispheric differences in the perceptual selection of spatial frequencies. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 26:2021-2027.

Sheremata SL, Silver MA (2015) Hemisphere-dependent attentional modulation of human parietal visual field representations. Journal of Neuroscience 35:508-517.

Denison RN, Sheynin J, Silver MA (2016) Perceptual suppression of predicted natural images. Journal of Vision 16(13):6:1-15