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On January 19 our talk was given by Dr. Mark Lescroart and was entitled "The Shape of Our Thoughts (Visual Perception of Geometric Shape)".
Most people think that "seeing" is something that happens in the eyes, but many aspects of our perception of the world are determined by neural computations that occur in the brain. The visual cortex - the part of the brain that processes vision - takes up nearly a third of our cerebral real estate. Different regions of the visual cortex respond to different aspects or features of visual stimuli. I will (briefly) go over a few examples of deficits that can occur when parts of the visual cortex are damaged, and I will discuss my own work, which shows how intermediate visual processing areas in the visual cortex respond to variation in object silhouettes and 3D surface orientations.
Mark Lescroart is a postdoctoral researcher in the Gallant laboratory at UC Berkeley. He got his PhD in 2011, working with Irving Biederman at the University of Southern California. Mark also went to USC for undergrad, and graduated summa cum laude in 2002 with a B.S. in Psychobiology and a minor in Japanese. Mark studies the way our brains transform patterns of light on our retinas into useful information about the shape and structure of objects in the world. He has also written popular science articles for Scientific American Mind.
You can watch the video of his talk by clicking below.
Brain image Flickr user taod (CC BY-NC-SA)