Brain based visual processing, perception, vision


I’m a week into a course on visual complexity, as it relates to cortical visual impairment. To say that I’m blown away by how our brain interprets data our retinas pick up, seamlessly converting that data into an image or images we can relate to, would be an understatement.

As a teacher for the visually impaired/blind I try to understand how my student’s perceive the world around them. Each student,depending on the degree of functional vision they have, sees the world a little differently. Even with my understanding of this I still take my typical vision, which allows me immediate access to my perceived reality, for granted.

The images below are from MIT’s Project Prakash. The goal of this project is to determine what is the raw data of vision. In other words, what is it that our eyes give to our brains to interpret?

In order for those of us with typical vision to perceive the second image of two girls performing a Scottish reel while a bagpiper plays in the background, our retinas first pick up all the bits and pieces of information: light, shadows, lines, edges, etc. (as displayed in the first image). They are then sent along to our optic nerve on its way to our occipital lobes at the backs of our brain. From there the data is transferred to our parietal and temporal lobes via our ventral stream or “what” pathway though which we can identify objects, faces etc., as well as via our dorsal stream or our “where”pathway through which we perceive spatial relations. The end result of all these processes gives is a three dimensional representation of our perceived reality.

1. raw visual data
2. complete image

Makes you look at things a bit differently doesn’t it?

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