October 30, 2007

What is binocular vision for, anyway?

Great talk coming up at UConn, and I've marked this one in my calendar. Maybe see you there?

Speaker: Mark Changizi, Department of Cognitive Science, RPI

: What is binocular vision for, anyway?

Abstract: The study of binocular vision typically amounts to the study of the perception of depth it gives us (stereopsis). However, people who have lost an eye tend to have notoriously good vision, and attempts to empirically document real-life performance deficits have led to mixed results. I'll describe a function of the binocular region that has not been appreciated in the literature, the ability to "see through" stuff. If you're an animal in a habitat with lots of clutter, then you can see more of your world by having forward-facing eyes, for although you become blind to what's behind you, the extra amount you can see in front makes up for it. If, however, you're an animal in a non-cluttered habitat, then you can see the most by having your eyes face sideways, having panoramic vision of what's around you and only a tiny binocular region. Evidence across mammals supports this, suggesting that it is the x-ray power of the binocular region, not stereopsis, that is crucial for understanding why our binocular regions are so large.

If You Go
Date: Friday November 30
Time: 4 pm
Location: BOUS 160 [see interactive map of UConn & select BOUS as building name]

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