David Thura


Ph.D. Neuroscience

Inserm researcher

Lyon Neuroscience Research Center

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Contact information

Lyon Neuroscience Research Center - ImpAct Team
Inserm U1028 - CNRS UMR 5292

Bâtiment Inserm

16 avenue Doyen Lépine
69676 Bron Cedex


Phone: +33 (0)4 72 91 34 14
E-mail : david.thura@inserm.fr 

Research interests

Urgent decision-making between actions






Cortico-basal ganglia network

NEWS (last update: Feb 02, 2020)

February 2020

Please check out the latest paper published in the Journal of Neurophysiology describing an ICMS experiment performed in Montreal with Paul Cisek. We show that stimulation of monkey PMd and, to  lesser extend, M1 delays the commitment to an action choice:


January 2020

My paper describing the effects of decision urgency on movement kimematics in humans has been discussed during the journal club of Paul Cisek's group at University of Montreal. Such a satisfactory feeling...

January 2020

The first paper of the lab is out ! The study shows that decision urgency strongly influences movement speed and duration in humans, irrespective of practice load.  Please check it out:

Screenshot (8).png

December 2019

New material available: slides from two courses given at University Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Check it out !

October 2019

If you are in Chicago for SfN 2019 and you are interested in decision-making, motor control, cortico-basal ganglia network, neurophysiology and modeling? Come see Paul Cisek presenting our poster on Tuesday afternoon (606.13 - BB19)

September 2019

Very nice of Inserm to promote my background and research this week.

August 2019

Our latest paper is a collaborative work with Gerard Derosiere and Julie Duque suggesting that human M1 cortex is weakly involved in deciding between action choices. Please check it out:

June 2019

Please check out this interesting study, hot off the press, in which we show that a primary reinforcer, thirst, modulates human subjects kinematics during reaching and grasping a glass.  

Thirst for Intention? Grasping a Glass Is a Thirst-Controlled Action

Patrice Revol, Sarah Collette, Zoe Boulot, Alexandre Foncelle, Chiharu Niki, David Thura, Akila Imai, Sophie Jacquin-Courtois, Michel Cabanac, François Osiurak and Yves Rossetti

May 2019

Very happy to promote our latest article in The Neuroscientist, a review paper in which we (with Matt Carland and Paul Cisek) argue that an urgency-based mechanism provides a potential link between personality traits (e.g. impulsivity) and some clinical disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s disease).

April 2019

Upcoming talk:

Very pleased to contribute to the upcoming workshop on Cognitive Control and Performance Monitoring - In memory of Laurence Questienne








I will be giving a talk entitled:

Neural correlates of action decisions in a cortico-basal ganglia network

June 14, 2019 - 17.50 pm

Oostduinkerke, Belgium

Please check the full program

April 2019

Upcoming talk:

Selection and invigoration of behavior: a role for the cortico-basal ganglia network

Friday, April 05, 2019, 12pm

Laboratoire de Neurosciences Cognitives et Computationnelles

Inserm - Ecole Normale Supérieure

29, rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris

March 2019

Insightful 2-retreat for the new Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Inserm researchers in the beautiful domain Les Pensieres


January 2019

I'm hiring ! Please take a look at the official advertisement and feel free to contact me with any questions !


December 2018

The human experimental setup is ready, first subjects are expected on February. Next setup phase: the monkey experimental environment... In the meantime, check out the tentative logo of the lab:  

November 2018

As part of the UCBL Master II Neuroscience program, I will be giving a talk entitled :

Electrophysiological approaches to decision-making  

on Tuesday 13th November, 2018


Salle 203, Bâtiment Jean-François Cier (Campus Lyon Santé Est)

Interested in the neuroscience of decision between actions? Come work with me in Lyon ! 

2-years funded postdoctoral position available, starting fall 2019.

Come for science, stay for science and the city !

October 2018


September 2018

Here is Paul and I latest piece, a review on the neural circuits for action selection:


In a chapter, we summarize our recent work on the role of the PMd/M1-BG circuit during decision between actions, we propose a way to map neural circuits and decision types and we finally speculate on the respective functions of cortex and BG during goal oriented behavior.


July 2018

Proud and delighted to announce that on September 2018 I'll be starting my own research program as a tenured INSERM researcher in the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, Bron (France)


Delighted to contribute to the upcoming workshop on Probabilities and Optimal Inference to Understand the Brain:




















I will be giving a talk entitled:

Brain circuits of urgent decisions

for action

April 6, 2018 - 10.30 am

Institut de Neurosciences de la Timone

Marseille, France

Please check this tentative summary out !

(and the cool picture)

Upcoming talk:

Régulation du compromis vitesse-précision pendant la prise de décision et l’exécution motrice : théorie, comportement et bases neuronales*

Jeudi, 18 Janvier, 2018 à 10:30

Université du Québec à Montréal

Salle PK-5115, Pavillon Président-Kennedy (PK)
201, avenue du Président-Kennedy, H2X 3Y7

* Will be delivered in French

July 2017

My ATIP-Avenir grant
has been awarded !!
More about my first independent research program soon
Shopping and recruitment (post-doc) to come very soon too !
!!!  New paper out  !!!
The basal ganglia do not select reach targets but control the urgency of commitment 
by David Thura and Paul Cisek
95 (5) : 1160 - 1170, 2017
Please also check out this preview by Dr. Emilio Salinas
and the Highlight published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience by Dr. Katherine Walley

My Ph.D. research focused on the FEF, a major component of the cerebral network that is thought to contribute to decision making, as well as to visual and oculomotor processes. We used single-neuron recordings in monkeys to test the hypothesis that FEF neurons integrate signals from the hand to ensure adapted ocular exploration of peripersonal space. 


My post-doctoral position in Paul Cisek’s lab provided me with the opportunity to pursue the exploration of complex integrative functions, i.e. decision making, in brain regions such as PMd, M1 and PFC. We investigated the neural correlates of dynamic decision-making in monkeys trained to perform a reach decision task. We showed that premotor and primary motor cortex activity reflects the competition between potential options and signals the commitment to a choice before movement initiation.  


As a research associate in Paul Cisek's lab at University of Montreal, we explored the behavior and the neural bases of speed-accuracy trade-off adjustments during dynamic decisions and movement execution. We investigate this question under the affordance competition and the urgency-gating frameworks. 

Please click here for a more detailed overview of my career and accomplishments


In this section I make some material available, mostly slides from various courses or talks. Feel free to check it out