Friday, May 20, 2011

Do you SEE what I SEE?

RSS icon HOUSTON -- (May 9, 2011) -- In the wild, mammals survive because they can see and evade predators lurking in the shadowy bushes.That ability translates to the human world.We get out of the house every morning because we find our car keys on that cluttered shelf next to the door.
This ability to recognize target objects surrounded by distracters is one of the remarkable functions of our nervous system.
"Visual search is an important task for the brain. Surprisingly, even in a complex task like detecting an object in a scene with distracters, we find that people's performance is near optimal. That means that the brain manages to do the best possible job given the available information," said Dr. Wei Ji Ma, assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine.

"We found that even in this complex task, people came close to being optimal in detecting the target," he said. "That means that humans can in a split second integrate information across space while taking into account the reliability of that information. That is important in our daily lives."

"The visual system is automatically and subconsciously doing complex tasks," said Ma. "People see objects and how they relate to one another. We don't just see with our eyes. We see with our brains. Our eyes are the camera, but the process of interpreting the image in our brains is seeing."