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Sam Bennett

Sam Bennett

25th of June 2023



Scientists Uncover the Mechanism Behind High Contrast Optical Illusions

Researchers from the University of Exeter have made a breakthrough in understanding high contrast optical illusions, shedding light on why these images trick our eyes. Contrary to previous assumptions about the involvement of complex neurological processes.

The study suggests that limitations in the human eye’s visual system are responsible for these illusions. The findings challenge long-held beliefs and offer valuable insights into the mechanisms underlying visual perception.

In the study published in PLOS Computational Biology, researchers discovered that high contrast optical illusions exploit limitations in the eye’s visual system rather than relying on the brain’s processing power.

Dr. Jolyon Troscianko, one of the authors, explained that the neurons in our eyes have a finite firing capacity. Which affects our perception of color and contrast.

The Role of Neuron Bandwidth in High Contrast Optical Illusions

High Contrast Optical Illusions

The researchers developed a computer model that replicated the limited bandwidth of human vision. When exposed to high contrast optical illusions, the model became overwhelmed by the presence of significant contrasts. Leading to distorted perceptions of the images.

The model revealed that different neurons have evolved to be finely tuned at processing subtle variations in color across a range of shades.

Neurons sensitive to small differences in gray levels at medium-sized ranges are easily overwhelmed by high contrasts.

In contrast, neurons coding for contrasts at larger or smaller scales are less sensitive. But can handle a wider range of contrasts, creating distinct black-and-white differences.

The computer model created in this study opens up avenues for further exploration. Scientists aim to use the model to study color perception in animals with different visual systems. Ad neuron bandwidths compared to humans.

By understanding how different species perceive color. Researchers can gain valuable insights into the diversity of visual experiences across the animal kingdom.

The University of Exeter’s study provides a breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms behind high contrast optical illusions.

By demonstrating that these illusions exploit limitations in the eye’s visual system rather than complex neurological processes, the research challenges long-held assumptions.

The computer model developed in the study sheds light on the role of different neurons and their sensitivity to contrasts at varying scales.

This research paves the way for further investigations into color perception in different species and expands our understanding of visual experiences beyond human perception.

Scientists Uncover the Mechanism Behind High Contrast Optical Illusions