The more you know…

I continue to realize how much more research I need to do.  While trying to come up with something concrete to bring to today’s meeting was doing research into color, and our brain’s perception of it. I was surprised by how many other people are doing research similar to what we are exploring.  Here are some of the things I found.

Neurobiology Looks To Shed Light On Vision, Art’ Harvard Crimson

By Alissa M D’gama, CONTRIBUTING WRITER   Published: Friday, November 06, 2009

Bevil R. Conway, a visiting lecturer in neurobiology at Harvard Medical School says…

“There is a kind of feedback as you’re making a picture—the colors on the canvas are actually changing as you apply other colors next to them,” Conway says. “That dynamic process reflects something about how the visual system works.” In fact, art and art practices are fundamentally constrained by how the visual system works, he says, and the study of art is in some ways in the service of the quest to understand vision.”


The Color of Neurons or The Color of Success  August 08, 2009  Posted by brain – research neuroscience group

This  is a great page with some really interesting research on it, but I can’t understand the images.  I would love to get a better idea of some of the colors they are working with.  Could be interesting to use this to play with color palate.  Particularly if we want to sift audience focus from one character to another.  Could we use color to manipulate focus?


The Science Network interviews Tom Albright

Perception and the Beholder’s Share

Tom Albright is Professor and Director of the Vision Center Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological studies. His laboratory focuses on the neural structures and events underlying the perception of motion.  Tom Albright talks with Roger Bingham about visual perception, his research into how cortex represents features from images, what schizophrenia can teach us about perception, and his interest in art and architecture.

Some of the questions this Tom Albright is posing…

How does the cortex work?   How extract one feature and generalize across a bunch of other features?  What is the role of context in visual processing?

Some of his answers…

“You have an image in the back of your eye.  And from that image the brain tries to infer the causes of that image…There is not enough information in that image in the back of your eye for you to reliably reconstruct what’s out there in the world.  And yet we do it reliable most of the time.


The only way to get around this reverse problem of optics is by including additional sources of information.  And one additional source of information is what we call the local context, which is the other stuff that happens to be in the image at the same time.  So, for example if there was a bicycle in front of me and the bicycle was partially occluded by some other object I can very reliably infer where the bicycle extends beyond that object.  I am drawing conclusions about what is in my environment in the absence of direct information. “

He goes on to say that another source of context is your prior experience with the world

“you use your priors of  the world to make hypothesis about what’s out there at any given time.  Not only is there not enough information, but it is also noise and ambiguous and incomplete and we fill in the blanks based on what’s most likely to be there based on our prior experience of the world…  This is magicians work.  They force you to guess the wrong thing.”

So, how can we use this?  Can we force the audience to perceive wrong, but in the way we would like them to?  How would this help us tell a story?


1 thought on “The more you know…

  1. I believe getting an audience to “guess wrong” can be essential to our success. Also, bringing story-telling into play here is exciting. It can be either a success or a failure for an audience to be able to guess right about a narrative that is to come, but is there a way to make them guess wrong? Do we take an idea so familiar that any person in the audience knows the outcome, then turn it at the right moment when the audience seems to have cumulatively guessed wrong? Like we said, the audience is not for us to perform experiments on, but rather with, so if we would like them to guess wrong, it would have to be in a way that is highly entertaining.

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