Visual Illusions

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Last week in my neurobiology class we were to read papers by David Eagleman, neurobiologist and author of Incognito: The secret lives of the brain. He also came to our class for a short Q&A. I was intrigued on his paper about visual illusions. His main interest was in flash lag illusion and the wagon wheel effect.
Flash lag illusion: a visual illusion when a flash and moving object appear to be in the same place but are perceived to be displaced. One theory is that your visual cue predicts the trajectory of the moving object(Nijhawan, 1994). Another theory is that your visual system can process moving objects more quickly than flashed objects. This basically means that by the time your brain has processed the flash the moving object has already changed positions(Nijhawan, 1994). Eagleman however proposed that "visual awareness is neither predictive nor on-line, but is instead postdictive, such that the percept attributed to the time of the flash is a function of events that happen in the ~80 msec following the flash."
Wagon Wheel effect: Optical illusion in which a spiked wheel seems to rotate differently from its true direction. A 2004 study(Eagleman) revealed that the incidences of reversed rotation were independent in different parts of the visual field.
Obviously with all research there are more questions to be addressed, but the study of illusions allows for understanding of biological proccess and provides insight in the field of neurobiology.
If you are interested in visual illusions or just find them interesting to look at i suggest you to look at the link below or simply google it. First you don't see it, now you do.

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This page contains a single entry by Lacey Bebout published on September 28, 2011 9:06 PM.

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