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Department of Cognitive Science

Dr David Kaplan

BA UCSD, PhD Duke.

David Kaplan


Contact Details

Office : 3.822
Phone : +61 2 9850 2943
Fax : +61 2 9850 6059
email :
Homepage :

External Address

Department of Cognitive Science
Australian Hearing Hub
16 University Avenue
Macquarie University NSW 2109

I also have a profile at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders.


I am a Lecturer in the Department of Cognitive Science and an Associate Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD) at Macquarie University. In 2007, I completed my PhD at Duke University. From 2007-2009, I was a James S. McDonnell postdoctoral fellow in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology (PNP) Program at Washington University in St. Louis. From 2009-2013, I completed postdoctoral training in the neurophysiology laboratory of Dr Lawrence Snyder at Washington University in St. Louis - School of Medicine. During this training, I led a project investigating movement planning and the sensory basis of arm position signals in the posterior parietal cortex.

My current research is organised into two interrelated streams. One research stream addresses the foundations of cognitive science including methodological, theoretical, and explanatory issues in cognitive science and neuroscience. The other research stream addresses the neural mechanisms underlying sensorimotor integration and movement planning, with a particular focus on reach planning in the posterior parietal cortex.


  • Macquarie University Faculty of Human Sciences Extra Mile Award (2015), Kaplan, D.M. "For exemplary effort, productivity, public service and innovation."
  • Macquarie University Faculty of Human Sciences Extra Mile Award (2015), Lukin, A., Bishop, B., Hubbard, M., McKnight, L., Nicholas, M., Loveday, A., Robredo Moran, S., Moore, S., Murray, J., Barnes, S., Finkbeiner, M., Sutton, J., Kaplan, D.M., Brooks, K., McMahon, C., Boag, S., Hayden, J., Hadley, F. Newall, C., Harrison, N. "For the faculty HDR administrative team for outstanding and effective customer service, as well as an ability to problem solve and provide support."

Grants Awarded

  • Macquarie University Innovation and Scholarship Program (ISP) (2016) "A scalable, cost-effective, and highly immersive lab-based approach to undergraduate teaching in the cognitive and brain sciences." de Wit, B. & Kaplan, D.M. ($55,073)
  • Macquarie University Research Development Grant (2016 - 2017) "The science of human responsibility: An interdisciplinary approach to understanding the sense of agency." Polito, V., Klein, C., Kaplan, D., Langdon, R., Hitchens, M., Zopf, R., Carruthers, G., & Woody, E. ($49,962)
  • ARC CCD Neural Markers Training Scheme (2016) "Understanding differences in neural inhibitory processes between schizophrenia and neurotypical human visual cortex using fMRI and population receptive field mapping." Wardle, S., Seymour, K., Kaplan, D., Langdon, R., Coltheart, M., & Clifford, C. ($20,500)
  • Macquarie University Research Infrastructure Block Grant Scheme (2015) "Using a robotic arm with virtual reality to better understand the temporal dynamics of human information processing." Finkbeiner, M., Sowman, P., Kaplan, D.M., & Carlson, T. ($100,000)
  • ARC CCD Cross Program Support Scheme (2015) "Investigating the effects of visual feedback information on body representation, sense of ownership and agency using next-generation virtual reality." Pritchard, S., Kaplan, D., Polito, V., Zopf, R., Williams, M., & Coltheart, M. ($38,000)
  • Macquarie University Faculty of Human Sciences Equipment Grant (2015) "A large-format, 32-inch touchscreen and a consumer-grade hand motion and gesture tracker." Pritchard, S., Kaplan, D., Zopf, R., Polito, V., & Williams, M. ($2,738)
  • Macquarie University New Staff Grant (2014) "Representation of limb position for reaching in the posterior parietal cortex." Kaplan, D.M. ($20,000)
  • Macquarie University Enhancement Program (EP) Grant. (2014) "Building a problem-based and research-driven undergraduate program in Cognitive Science." Kaplan, D.M. ($25,000)
  • Monash University School of Philosophical, Historical, and International Studies (SoPHIS) Internal Research Grant (2013) Kaplan, D.M. ($2,200)

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

  • Kaplan, D.M. (2015). Explanation and levels in cognitive neuroscience. In J. Clausen & N. Levy (Eds.), Handbook of Neuroethics. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
  • Craver, C.F., & Kaplan, D.M. (2011). Towards a mechanistic philosophy of neuroscience. In S. French & J. Saatsi (Eds.), Continuum companion to the philosophy of science. London: Continuum Press.


  • Kaplan, D.M. (2015). Moving parts: The natural alliance between dynamical and mechanistic modeling approaches. Biology & Philosophy, 30(6), 757-786. doi:10.1007/s10539-015-9499-6
  • Patel, G.H., Kaplan, D.M., & Snyder, L.H. (2014). Topographic organization in the brain: Searching for general principles. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(7), 351-363. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2014.03.008
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2013). The complex interplay between three-dimensional egocentric and allocentric spatial representation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(5), 553-554. doi:10.1017/S0140525X13000423
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2012). How to demarcate the boundaries of cognition. Biology & Philosophy, 27(4), 545-570. doi:10.1007/s10539-012-9308-4
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2012). Review of "Hatfield, G. (2009). Perception and Cognition: Essays in the Philosophy of Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.". Philosophical Psychology, 25(3), 463-468.
  • Kaplan, D.M., & Snyder, L.H. (2012). The need for speed: Eye-position signal dynamics in the parietal cortex. Neuron, 76(6), 1048-1051. doi:10.1016/j.neuron.2012.12.005
  • Kubanek, J., & Kaplan, D.M. (2012). Evidence for a decision variable in the human motor system. The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(24), 8110-8111. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1813-12.2012
  • Goren, G., Kaplan, D.M., Little, D.Y., Lankow, B., Sherwin, J., Suter, B., & Thaler, L. (2011). Towards an integrated framework for perception and action. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 5, 20. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2011.00020
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2011). Explanation and description in computational neuroscience. Synthese, 183(3), 339-373. doi:10.1007/s11229-011-9970-0
  • Kaplan, D.M., & Bechtel, B. (2011). Dynamical models: An alternative or complement to mechanistic explanations? Topics in Cognitive Science, 3(2), 438444. doi:10.1111/j.1756-8765.2011.01147.x
  • Kaplan, D.M., & Craver, C.F. (2011). The explanatory force of dynamical and mathematical Models in neuroscience: A mechanistic perspective. Philosophy of Science, 78(4), 601-627. doi:10.1086/661755
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2005). Review of "Brook, A., & Akins, K. (Eds.). (2005). Cognition and Brain: The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press". Philosophical Psychology, 21, 707-712.
  • Rosenberg, A., & Kaplan, D.M. (2005). How to reconcile physicalism with antireductionism about biology. Philosophy of Science, 72, 43-68. doi:10.1086/428389

Conference Presentations, Colloquia, and other presentations

  • Pritchard, S.C., Zopf, R., Polito, V., Kaplan, D., & Williams, M. (2015, November). Using consumer-grade virtual reality to investigate body ownership and agency. Poster session presented at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Annual Workshop, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Badcock, N.A., de Wit, B., & Kaplan, D. (2015, September). Measuring brain activity. Invited presentation given at the Macquarie University Open Day, Sydney.
  • Badcock, N.A., de Wit, B., & Kaplan, D. (2015, July). Cognitive and brain sciences: Measuring brain activity. Presentation given at the Macquarie University Discovery Day, Sydney.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2014, October). Neural noise and the data/phenomena distinction. Colloquium at the Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science, The University of Sydney, Sydney.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2014, August). Sensorimotor transformations in the parietal cortex: Knowns and unknowns. Paper presented at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Annual Workshop, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2014, May). Planning to move? Sensorimotor integration and movement planning in the brain. Colloquium at the Department of Cognitive Science 3M Research Fiesta, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2014, April). Re-envisioning the debate over extended cognition. Colloquium at the Cognition in Context Colloquium Series, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2013, November). Signals and noise in neuroscience. Invited paper presented at the Experimentation in Neuroscience Conference, Pittsburgh, USA.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2013, March). Explaining the mind and brain. Invited colloquium at the Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2011, April). Explanation, embodiment, and neural representation. Invited colloquium at the Department of Philosophy/ARC Center for Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney.
  • Kaplan, D.M., & Snyder, L.H. (2010, November). Walking the walk: An interim report on cross-disciplinary collaboration in cognitive neuroscience. Colloquium at the PNP/Medical School Seminar, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, USA.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2010, March). Decomposition, Description, and Explanation in Visual Neuroscience Paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA): Pacific Division, San Francisco, USA.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2009, July). Mechanism, computation, and explanation in cognitive neuroscience. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB), Brisbane.
  • Kaplan, D.M. (2009, July). On deciding the boundaries of cognition and perception. Paper presented at the Metaphysics of Science Conference, Melbourne.

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