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Seeing in depth: computations and cortical networks

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Human perception is remarkably flexible: we experience vivid 3-D structure under diverse conditions from the seemingly random dots of a ‘magic eye’ stereogram to the aesthetically beautiful, but obviously flat, canvasses of the Old Masters. How does the brain achieve this apparently effortless robustness? Using modern brain imaging methods we are beginning to unpick how different parts of the visual cortex support 3-D perception, tracing different computations in the dorsal and ventral pathways. In this talk I will describe work that combines behaviour, fMRI, TMS and computational analysis. By integrating these methods, we are uncovering different types of processing that support the different computational goals of (a) maximising separation of signals and (b) reducing variance of estimators.

This talk is part of the Microsoft Research Cambridge, public talks series.

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