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Alexander Maier

Associate Professor of Psychology
Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Alex Maier's primary research interest is on the relationship between brain activity and conscious visual perception. Maier obtained his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute of Cybernetics in Germany. He worked as a Research Fellow at the U.S. National Institutes of Health before joining Vanderbilt’s Department of Psychology. Maier has received Awards from the Society for Neuroscience, the National Institutes of Mental Health, the Whitehall Foundation, the Minds Science Foundation as well as the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, and has been elected as a Fellow of the Sloan Foundation as well as a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lab Website

Representative Publications

Westerberg, J.A., Schall, M.S., Maier, A., Woodman, G.F, Schall, J.D. & Riera, J.J. (2022)  Resolving the mesoscopic missing link: Biophysical modeling of EEG from cortical columns in primates NeuroImage [in press]

Maier, A., Cox, M.A., Westerberg, J.A. & Dougherty, K. (2022) Binocular integration in primate primary visual cortex. Ann. Rev.Vis. Sci. doi: 10.1146/annurev-vision-100720-112922.

Mitchell, B.A., Dougherty, K., Westerberg, J.A., Carlson, B.M., Daumail, L., Maier, A. & Cox, M.A. (2022) Stimulating both eyes with matching stimuli enhances V1 responses. iScience. 25(5):104182.

Westerberg, J.A., Schall, M.S., Maier, A,, Woodman, G.F. & Schall, J.D. (2022) Laminar microcircuitry of visual cortex producing attention-associated electric fields. eLife 28;11:e72139.

Westerberg, J.A., Sigworth, E.A., Schall, J.D. & Maier, A. (2021) Pop-out search instigates beta-gated feature selectivity enhancement across V4 layer. PNAS 118(50):e2103702118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2103702118.

Dougherty, K., Carlson, B.M., Cox, M.A., Westerberg, J.A., Zinke, W., Schmid, M.C., Martin, P.R. & Maier, A. (2021) Binocular suppression in the macaque lateral geniculate nucleus reveals early competitive interactions between the eyes. eNeuro 8 (2)

Kienitz, R., Maier, A., Cox, M.A., Saunders, R.C., Schmiedt, J.T., Leopold, D.A., Schmid, M.C. (2021) Theta but not gamma oscillations in area V4 depend on input from primary visual cortex. Curr. Biol. 31 (3), 635-642. e3

Tsuchiya, N. & Maier, A. (2021) Growing Evidence for Separate Neural Mechanisms for Attention and Consciousness. Att. Percept. Psychophys. 83 (2), 558-576

Tovar, D.A., Westerberg, J.A., Cox, M.A., Dougherty, K., Carlson, T., Wallace, M.T., Maier, A. (2020) Stimulus Feature-Specific Information Flow Along the Columnar Cortical Microcircuit revealed by Multivariate Laminar Spiking Analysis. Front Syst Neurosci. 14, 90

Maier, A. (2020) Visual perception: Human brain cells cause a change of view. Curr. Biol. 30(16), PR939-R941

Carter, O. Leopold, D.A., van Swinderen, B., Shaun, C., Maier, A. (2020) Perceptual rivalry across animal species. J. Comp. Neurol. doi:10.1002/cne.24939

Westerberg, J.A., Maier, A. & Schall, J.D. (2020) Priming of attentional selection in macaque visual cortex: feature-based facilitation and location-based inhibition of return. eNeuro 7(2) ENEURO.0466-19.2020

Westerberg, J.A., Maier, A., Woodman, G.F. & Schall, J.D. (2019) Performance Monitoring During Visual Priming. J Cogn Neurosci. 32(3):515-526 PMID:31682570

Poltoratski, S., Maier, A., Newton, A. & Tong. F, (2019) Figure-Ground Modulation in the Human Lateral Geniculate Nucleus Is Distinguishable from Top-Down Attention. Curr. Biol. 29(12):2051-2057

Westerberg, J.A., Cox, M.A., Dougherty, K.  & Maier, A. (2019) V1 Microcircuit Dynamics: Altered Signal Propagation Suggests Intracortical Origins for Adaptation in Response to Visual Repetition. J. Neurophysiol. 121(5):1938-1952

Cox, M.A., Dougherty, DK., Westerberg, J.A., Schall, M.S., & Maier, A. (2019) Binocular integration manifests as a transient spiking increase followed by selective suppression in primary visual cortex. Journal of Vision 19(12):13.

Dougherty, K., Cox, M.A., Westerberg, J.A. & Maier, A. (2019) Binocular modulation of monocular V1 neurons. Curr. Biol. 29(3):381-391.e4

Dougherty, K., Schmid, M. & Maier, A. (2019) Binocular response modulation in the lateral geniculate nucleus J. Comp. Neurol. J Comp Neurol. 527(3):522-534. PMID:29473163

Noel, J.P., David Simon, D., Thelen, A., Maier, A., Blake, R. & Wallace, M.T. (2018) Probing Electrophysiological Indices of Perceptual Awareness Across Unisensory and Multisensory Modalities.  J. Cogn. Neurosci. 30(6):814-828

Maier, A., Schall, J.D. & Woodman, G.F. (2018) Neural Recordings at Multiple Scales. In: Stevens' Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience doi.10.1002/9781119170174.epcn516

Cox, M.A., Dougherty, K., Westerberg, J.A., Moore, B.S., Adams, G.K., Reavis, E.A., Leopold, D.A. & Maier, A.  (2017) Spiking suppression precedes cued attentional enhancement of neural responses in primary visual cortex. Cerebral Cortex doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx305. [Epub ahead of print]

Maier, A., Schmid, M.C. (2017) Lateral geniculate nucleus. In: Shackelford, T.K. & Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer

Schmid, M.C., Maier, A. (2017) Blindsight. In: Shackelford, T.K. & Weekes-Shackelford, V. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. Springer

Shapcott, K.A., Schmiedt, J.T., Saunders, R.C., Maier, A., Leopold, D.A. & Schmid, M.C. (2016) Correlated activity of cortical neurons survives extensive removal of feedforward sensory input. Nature Scientific Reports. doi: 10.1038/srep34886.

Foster, B.L., He, B.J., Honey, C.J., Jerbi, K., Maier, A., Saalmann, Y.B., (2016) Spontaneous neural dynamics and multi-scale network organization. Front. Syst. Neurosci. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2016.00007

Dougherty, K., Cox, M.A., Ninomiya, T., Leopold, D.A. & Maier, A. (2015) Ongoing alpha activity in V1 regulates visually driven spiking responses. Cereb. Cortex doi:10.1093/cercor/bhv304

Cox, M.A. & Maier, A. (2015) Filling-in the details of spatial interpolation: New evidence for parallel processing in mid-level vision. Neuroscience of Consciousness (1):1-7

Ninomiya, T., Dougherty, K., Godlove, D.C., Schall, J.D. & Maier, A. (2015) Microcircuitry of agranular frontal cortex: contrasting laminar connectivity between occipital and frontal areas. J. Neurophysiol. 113:3242-3255

Schmid, M.C. & Maier, A. (2015) To see or not to see - thalamo-cortical networks during blindsight and perceptual suppression. Prog. Neurobiol. 126:36-48.

Shmuel A. & Maier A. (2015) Locally Measured Neuronal Correlates of Functional MRI Signals. In: Ugurbil, K., Uludag, K. & Berliner, L.J. (eds.) fMRI: From Nuclear Spins to Brain Function. Biological Magnetic Resonance, Vol. 30. Springer

Maier, A., Cox, M.A., Dougherty, K., Moore, B. & Leopold, D.A. (2014) Anisotropy of ongoing neural activity in primate visual cortex. Eye and Brain 2014:6 (Suppl 1) 113–120

Schmiedt, J., Maier, A., Fries, P., Saunders, R., Leopold, D.A. & Schmid, M. (2014) Beta oscillation dynamics in extrastriate cortex after removal of primary visual cortex. J. Neurosci. 34(35):11857–11864

Godlove, D.C., Maier, A., Woodman, G.F. & Schall, J.D. (2014) Microcircuitry of agranular frontal cortex: Testing the generality of the canonical cortical microcircuit. J. Neurosci. 34(15):5355-5369

Cox, M.A., Lowe, K.A., Blake, R. & Maier, A. (2014) Sustained perceptual invisibility of solid shapes following contour adaptation to partial outlines. Consciousness and Cognition 26:37-50

Ghose, D., Maier A., Nidiffer, A.R. & Wallace, M.T. (2014) Multisensory response modulation in the superficial layers of the superior colliculus. J. Neurosci. 34(12):4332-4344.

Schmid, M.C., Schmiedt, J.T., Peters, A.J., Saunders, R.C., Maier, A. & Leopold, D.A. (2013) Motion-sensitive responses in visual area V4 in the absence of primary visual cortex. J Neurosci33(48): 18740-18745

Maier, A(2013) Neuroscience: The cortical layering of visual processing. Curr. Biol. 23(21):R959-961

Cox, M.A., Schmid, M.C., Peters, A.J., Saunders, R.C., Leopold, D.A. & Maier A. (2013) Receptive field focus of visual area V4 neurons determines responses to illusory surfaces. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110(42):17095-17100

Spaak, E., Bonnefond, M., Maier, A., Leopold, D.A. & Jensen, O. (2012) Layer-specific entrainment of gamma-band neural activity by the alpha rhythm in monkey visual cortex. Curr. Biol. 22(24):2313-2318

Leopold, D.A. & Maier, A. (2012) Ongoing physiological processes in the cerebral cortex. Neuroimage. 62(4):2190-200

Maier, A., Panagiotaropoulos, T., Tsuchiya, N. & Keliris, G.A. (2012) Binocular rivalry: a gateway to studying consciousness. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 6:263

Maier, A., Aura, C. & Leopold., D.A. (2011) lnfragranular origin of induced LFP responses in macaque primary visual cortex. J. Neurosci. 31(6):1971-1980

Maier, A., Adams, G.K., Aura, C. & Leopold., D.A. (2010) Distinct Superficial and deep laminar domains of activity in the visual cortex during rest and stimulation. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 4:3 1.

Scholvinck, M.L., Maier, A., Ye, F.Q., Duyn, J.H. & Leopold, D.A. (2010) Neural basis of global resting state fMRl activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107(22): 10238-43.

Wang, Z., Maier, A., Logothetis, N.K., Liang, H. (2009) Extraction of bistable-percept-related features from local field potential by integration of local regression and common spatial patterns. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 56(8):2095-2103

Wang, Z., Maier, A., Logothetis, N.K., Liang, H. (2009) Relaxation based feature selection for single-trial decoding of bistable perception. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 56(1): 101 -1 10

Maier, A. & Leopold, D.A. (2009) Binocular Rivalry. In: Wilken, P., Bayne, T., Cleeremans, A. (eds.) Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0-19-856951-0        

Maier, A. & Leopold, D.A. (2009) Binocular Rivalry In: Binder, M.D., Hirokawa, N., Windhorst, U., Hirsch, M.C. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Neuroscience. Springer. ISBN: 978-3-540-29678-2

Maier, A., Wilke, M., Aura, C., Zhu, C., Ye, F.Q. & Leopold, D.A. (2008) Divergence of fMRl and neural signals in V1 during perceptual suppression in the awake monkey. Nat. Neurosci 1 l(10): 1 193-1 200

Wang, Z., Maier, A., Logothetis, N.K. & Liang, H. (2008) Single-trial classification of bistable perception by integrating empirical mode decomposition, clustering and support vector machine. EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing 2008592742

Wang, Z., Maier, A., Logothetis, N.K. & Liang, H. (2008) Single-trial decoding of bistable perception based on sparse nonnnegative tensor decomposition. Journal of Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience 2008:642387

Maier A., Logothetis, N.K. & Leopold, D.A. (2007) Context-dependent perceptual modulation of single neurons in primate visual cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104(13):5620-5625

Wang, Z., Maier, A., Logothetis, N.K., Leopold, D.A., Liang, H., (2007) Single-trial evoked potential estimation using wavelet. Computers in Biology and Medicine. 37(4):463-473

Leopold, D.A. & Maier, A. (2006) Neuroimaging: Perception at the brain’s core. Curr. Biol. 16(3):R95-8

Wang, Z., Maier, A., Leopold, D.A., Liang, H. (2006) Relaxation based multichannel signal combination (RELAX-MUSIC) for perceptual decisions using the area under the ROC Curve. IEEE Transaction on Biomedical Engineering 5(12):2615-2618

Maier, A., Logothetis, N.K. & Leopold, D.A. (2005) Global competition dictates local suppression in pattern rivalry. Journal of Vision 5(9):668-677

Leopold, D.A., Maier, A., Wilke, M. & Logothetis, N.K. (2004) Binocular rivalry and the illusion of monocular vision. In: D. Alais & R. Blake (eds.), Binocular rivalry and perceptual ambiguity, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN: 978-0-262-01212-6

Leopold, D.A., Maier, A. & Logothetis, N.K. (2003) Measuring subjective visual perception in the nonhuman primate. J. Consc. Stud. 10(9-10): 115-130

Maier, A., Wilke, M., Logothetis, N.K. & Leopold, D.A. (2003) Perception of temporally interleaved ambiguous patterns. Curr. Biol. 13:1076-1085

Leopold, D.A., Wilke, M., Maier, A. & Logothetis, N.K. (2002) Stable perception of visually ambiguous patterns. Nat. Neurosci. 5(6): 605-609


2018: Vanderbilt Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching (Vanderbilt College of Arts and Sciences)

2015: Kavli Fellow (National Academy of Sciences)

2015: Outstanding Teacher of the Year (Vanderbilt Brain Institute)

2014: Janett Rosenberg Trubatch Career Development Award (Society for Neuroscience)

2013: Sloan Research Fellow (Alfred P. Sloan Foundation)

2009: Fellows Award of Research Excellence (National Institutes of Health)

2006: Julius Axelrod Fellowship (National Institute of Mental Health)

2006: Klaus Tschira Award (German National Academic Foundation)