Navigation Links
New insights into how the brain reconstructs the third dimension
Date:12/7/2011

This press release is available in German.

As dizzying as it may sound, the impression that we are living in a 3D world is actually a continuous fabrication of our brains. When we look at things, the world gets projected onto the retina and information about the third dimension is lost a bit like when a 3D object casts a shadow onto a flat, 2D wall. Somehow the brain is able to reconstruct the third dimension from the image, allowing us to experience a convincing 3D world. A team of scientists from Giessen University, Yale and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tbingen has recently discovered how cells in visual cortex might help solve this mystery. They created special 2D patterns designed to stimulate specific nerve cells when we look at them. They find that the result is a vivid illusion of 3D shape, which suggests these cells play an important role in reconstructing 3D shape.

"We created the images by taking random noise and smearing it out across the image in specific patterns. It's a bit like finger painting, except it's done by computer", explains Roland Fleming, Professor of Psychology at the University of Giessen. "The way the texture gets smeared out is not the way texture behaves in the real 3D world. But it allows us to selectively stimulate so-called 'complex cells' in visual cortex, which measure the local 2D orientation of patterns in the retinal image".

These cells whose discovery led to a Nobel Prize for David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel are often described as 'edge detectors' because they respond to boundaries or edges in the image. What was not known was that these cells could play a key role in estimating 3D shape.

"We asked people to adjust small probes to report what they saw. The settings allow us to reconstruct exactly which 3D shapes they perceived," says Heinrich Blthoff, director of the department of Human Perception, Cognition and Action at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics. "What's striking is how close the results are to predictions of a model based on cell responses".

The authors suggest the strongest evidence implicating the cells comes from an experiment in which participants stared at patterns for 30 seconds at a time, to change the way the cells respond. The resulting 'adaptation' causes random noisewhich normally looks completely flatto appear like a specific 3D shape.

"It's a kind of aftereffect, a bit like when you stare at a waterfall for a while, adaptation makes things that are stationary look like they are moving in the opposite direction. Except here, the aftereffect makes the noise look 3D," says Daniel Holtmann-Rice, who is currently doing his PhD at Yale University. "We didn't think it was going to work. It was so exciting to get the first data where we could clearly see the predicted shapes emerging in the participants' settings."

The authors are currently working on generalizing the findings to other kinds of information about 3D shape, such as shading and highlights.


'/>"/>
Contact: Heinrich Blthoff
heinrich.buelthoff@tuebingen.mpg.de
49-707-160-1601
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New papers offer insights into process of malarial drug resistance
2. Mixing genomics and geography yields insights into life and environment
3. New insights into a leading poultry disease and its risks to human health
4. New paper offers key insights into how new species emerge
5. Mixed population provides insights into human genetic makeup
6. Addiction: Insights from Parkinsons disease
7. Lohafex provides new insights on plankton ecology
8. New insights into progressive hearing loss
9. First neuroimaging study examining motor execution in children with autism reveals new insights
10. Limping rat provides sciatica insights
11. Researchers gain genome-wide insights into patterns of the worlds human population structures
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
New insights into how the brain reconstructs the third dimension
(Date:6/20/2016)... DALLAS , June 20, 2016 ... criminal justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, ... by the prisons involved, it has secured the ... Corrections (DOC) facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) ... (4) additional facilities to be installed by October, ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit ... includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution ... will result in greater convenience for SACU members ... maintaining existing document workflow and compliance requirements. ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... -- Favorable Government Initiatives Coupled With Implementation ... to Boost Global Biometrics System Market Through 2021  ... " Global Biometrics Market By Type, By End ... - 2021", the global biometrics market is projected to ... growing security concerns across various end use sectors such ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced positive ... its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials were ... studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics ... healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects were ... dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or repeated ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Andrew ... http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 Published recently in ... journal from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , ... cancer care is placing an increasing burden on ... biologic therapies. With the patents on many biologics ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free validated electronic ... showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, 2016 for ... Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA (Drug Information ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, ... tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The ... of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining ...
Breaking Biology Technology: