How to Tell the Ducks from the Rabbits

Prof Ian Stewart, How to Tell the Ducks from the Rabbits

Mathematics of Visual Illusions

Mathematicians working in neuroscience are interested in how the human visual system works. One way to gain insight into any system is to make it go wrong and see what it does. In vision, this can be done by presenting conflicting information to the two eyes (rivalry) or ambiguous information to both eyes (illusions, such as a picture that might be a duck... or is it a rabbit? No, it’s a duck! Or is it—?). Recent research looks at a general model of how the brain makes decisions, based on a ‘circuit’ of neurons that can learn patterns and then detect them. The dynamics of such networks helps to explain how this process can ‘go wrong’, thereby testing the theory.

The talk will be highly illustrated and avoid mathematical technicalities.

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Mała Aula, Gmach Główny PW