Institute of Neuroscience

Staff Profile

Dr Samy Rima

Research Associate


I study the brain not because it is the seat of the self, but because it is the seat of all that exists. My interest in the brain started as a few questions: Why do we experience the world the way we do? Why do personal experiences of the world differ, although we all have the same biological basis for perceiving it? Are we bound by our perceptions of the world, or can we manipulate them? How can our knowledge of the brain and its interactions with the environment improve how we design our world?

I consider that these questions are the basis for understanding how beings with complex neural systems interact with each other and with the environment that surrounds them. I am currently investigating the visual deficits of developmental dyslexia to better understand the mechanisms of visual attention and motion perception.

I have obtained my PhD in the CerCo at the University of Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, and currently working as a research associate within the Schmidlab.

Academic background

PhD in Cognitive and Behvioural Neurosciences
MS in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience
BS Biochemistry

Area of expertise

Systems Neuroscience

Google Scholar: Click here.


Throughout my PhD I have been involved in a number of projects:

Visuotopic organisation of primate cortex: A new cluster in the macaque posterior parietal cortex

In this project, I pioneered the use of wide-field retinotopic mapping combined with population receptive field mapping in behaving macaques. Thanks to the combination of these techniques, we unveiled a new cluster of visuotopic maps in the macaque posterior parietal cortex.

Characterizing the neural networks implicated in the processing of optic flow in the macaque monkey.

Our movement through space, or egomotion, creates a unique pattern of motion on our retina. This pattern of motion called optic flow. This specific type of stimulus allows us to infer heading, speed and the relative movement of nearby objects. It is processed by a specific network of cortical areas in the human brain. To understand the evolutionary origins of this network, we investigated the cortical network involved in optic flow in macaques, by replicating a previous study conducted in humans. Our results show many similarities, but also striking differences between the two species, probably due to the specific environmental niches of each species.

 The cultural lateralization of pictorial space: how language influences our perception

This research was motivated by the question of whether perception pictorial space was linked to the direction of reading/writing. By using a modified version of the Ponzo illusion to measure the influence of pictorial cues on size perception, we show that subjects from French and Arabic cultures perceived the visual illusions differently.

 The role of reward in shaping size and brightness perception

In the scope of investigating the influence of context on visual perception. By manipulating the amount of reward associated with a disc stimulus, we showed that subjects perceive more rewarding stimuli as larger, but not brighter than they truly are.

The role of VTA in reinforcement learning and motivation

In this study, we used the electrical microstimulation of the macaque Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) to investigate its role in Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning, as well as its functional projections in the cortex.