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

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.


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

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