A New Slant on Vision Research

Posted 4 Mar 2005 at 17:06 UTC by steve Share This

The brain's visual cortex contains neurons that directly encode the viewing angle of objects seen by the eye according to a news release from the University of Minnesota. Researchers found that whether test subjects were looking at faces, cars, or meaningless geometric objects, their brains responded in a way that indicated "there are separate populations of neurons, each responding to a particular narrow range of orientations". Once you see an object, these neurons encode it and then recognize it instantly from any angle. These viewing angle neurons are likely located in the lateral occipital cortex. Tests with images of faces showed that the sujects were not responding to the geometric arrangment of local facial features such as the nose and eyes in the way most face recognition software does. The research was done by Sheng He of the UMN Vision Lab along with Jody Culham of Culham Neuroimaging Lab.

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