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Seeing is believing: how our brains invent a stable world

A lecture to launch the new temporary exhibition 'How Do You Look? Visual Cognition in Painting and Surgery'


Virtual Reality is becoming an increasingly important tool for surgeons' work, but it can also be used by neuroscientists to help discover how the brain works. I will discuss how immersive virtual reality allows researchers to test theories about the way the brain represents the 3D world around us. In our laboratory, subjects wear a head mounted display and can move freely, giving them a compelling illusion that they are in the different environment.

Our results have been quite unexpected. For example, we have found that people do not notice when the entire scene around them expands or contracts (by as much as four times). This suggests that the brain's assumptions about the stability of the visual world play a much greater role in perceiving a 3D scene than we had supposed. Subjects make simple judgements, such as comparing the size of two objects they see at different times. From their responses, we can determine how they combine information about the distance of objects with prior assumptions about the world.

One thing seems clear: people do not construct little 3D "models" of the world in their head. Exactly what they are doing instead is an open and fascinating question.


Speaker(s):

Dr Andrew Glennerster | talks | www

 

Date and Time:

20 September 2006 at 7:00 pm

Duration:

1 hour

 

Venue:

Hunterian Museum, London
The Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields
London
WC2A 3PE
020 7869 6560
http://www.rcseng.ac.uk/museums

More at Hunterian Museum, London...

 

Tickets:

Tickets cost £8/5 concessions

Available from:

To book tickets please call 020 7869 6560 or email museums@rcseng.ac.uk.

Alternatively state the name of this lecture, how many tickets you require and send with a cheque for the relevant amount payable to 'The Royal College of Surgeons of England' to Events bookings, Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PE.

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