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Neural Bases of Human Visual Perception

Randolph Blake
Department of Psychology
Vanderbilt Vision Research Center
511 Wilson Hall
615-343-7010 (office)

My research concerns the neural bases of human visual perception, with an emphasis on binocular vision, motion perception and perceptual grouping. I utilize psychophysical techniques to study the abilities of people to make judgments about the 3D structure and layout of objects in visual space, with an eye toward developing neural models to account for those abilities. The psychophysical work uses computer generated animation sequences viewed stereoscopically to simulate 3D objects undergoing transformations associated with motion. The theoretical work relies heavily on extant physiological and neurological data A major theme running throughout my work is the establishment of “sites” of visual information processing based on perceptual data In recent years, my colleagues and I have developed several fruitful localization strategies, including ones that utilize binocular rivalry as a neural “reference” for localizing other sites of action. The inferential strength of this so-called “psychoanatomical” technique will continue to grow as more is learned about the actual neural concomitants of visual information processing. To supplement this strategy, I use functional MRI as a complementary localization technique. This work is carried out in collaboration with scientists in the Vanderbilt Medical School as well as with investigators at other universities. In recent years, I have also studied visual imagery, visual memory and the role of knowledge in putatively early visual processes (e.g. binocular vision; motion). My work, which is supported by a grant from the NIH, is carried out in a modern laboratory that includes Macintosh computers, an eye-tracker, image processing hardware and optical components including mirror stereoscopes.

For more information, visit the lab website.