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Experience can change the 'light-from-above' prior


To interpret complex and ambiguous input, the human visual system uses prior knowledge or assumptions about the world. We show that the 'light-from-above' prior, used to extract information about shape from shading is modified in response to active experience with the scene. The resultant adaptation is not specific to the learned scene but generalizes to a different task, demonstrating that priors are constantly adapted by interactive experience with the environment.

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Figure 1: Stimuli and results for experiment 1.
Figure 2: Stimuli and results for experiment 2 (a) Monocular control stimuli (top row) consisted of an orange square flanked by two gray quadrilaterals consistent with slanted square planes.


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Supported by the Wellcome Trust (GR069717MA), US National Science Foundation (0107383) and the 5th Framework Program of the European Union (IST-2001-38040, TOUCH-HapSys). We thank M.S. Banks for helpful feedback.

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Correspondence to Wendy J Adams.

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Adams, W., Graf, E. & Ernst, M. Experience can change the 'light-from-above' prior. Nat Neurosci 7, 1057–1058 (2004).

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