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Visual illusions and neurobiology

Abstract

The complex structure of the visual system is sometimes exposed by its illusions. The historical study of systematic misperceptions, combined with a recent explosion of techniques to measure and stimulate neural activity, has provided a rich source for guiding neurobiological frameworks and experiments.

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Figure 1: Illusions arising from lateral inhibition and excitation.
Figure 2: Illusory contours and brightness enhancement.
Figure 3: After-effects and competing populations.
Figure 4: Multistable stimuli and active perception.

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Acknowledgements

I thank my colleagues at the Salk Institute and the University of California at San Diego; in particular, G. Stoner, A. Holcombe, B. Krekelberg, S. Anstis, M. van der Smagt and T. Sejnowski.

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Eagleman, D. Visual illusions and neurobiology. Nat Rev Neurosci 2, 920–926 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/35104092

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