Seeing the world through 'rose-colored glasses' may be more biological reality than metaphor, according to a University of Toronto study that provides the first direct evidence that our mood literally changes the way our visual system filters our perceptual experience.
The U of T team used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine how our visual cortex processes sensory information when in good, bad, and neutral moods. They found that donning the rose-coloured glasses of a good mood is less about the colour and more about the expansiveness of the view.
Erik Weihenmayer wears sunglasses often. He was wearing them to protect his eyes when he reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1997. He had them on when he completed the 2003 Primal Quest, the world's toughest multi-sport adventure race. And, he put on a pair during a recent visit to the National Eye Institute (NEI).
But this last set is no ordinary pair of Oakley sunglasses.
Weihenmayer looks through them, peering down at a white note card on a table. He silently moves his head back and forth, up and down. After a few moments, he says, "Is that a 12?"
Facial recognition is not as automatic as it may seem, according to researchers who have identified specific areas in the brain devoted solely to picking out faces among other objects we encounter.
Two specific effects have been established as being critical for facial recognition – holistic processing (in which we view the face as a whole, instead of in various parts) and left-side bias (in which we have a preference for the left side of the face). Psychologists Janet H. Hsiao from the University of Hong Kong and Garrison W. Cottrell from the University of California, San Diego wanted to test if these effects were specific for facial recognition or if they help us to identify other objects as well.
What's different about nocturnal mammals that have 'night vision'? According to a Cell report, the DNA within the photoreceptor rod cells responsible for low light vision is packaged in a very unconventional way. That special DNA architecture turns the rod cell nuclei themselves into tiny light-collecting lenses, with millions of them in every nocturnal eye.
Video may have killed the radio star(*) but violent video games may save the vision of teens who play them, according to a new Tel Aviv University study.
Dr. Uri Polat of Tel Aviv University's Goldschlager Eye Institute and his collaborators compared the effects of playing violent action games like "Unreal Tournament 2004" and "Call of Duty 2" to other video games which do not require high levels of visual-motor coordination, like "The Sims."
We all know that people sometimes change their behavior when someone is looking their way. A new study in Current Biology shows that jackdaws, birds related to crows and ravens with eyes that appear similar to human eyes, can do the same.
"Jackdaws seem to recognize the eye's role in visual perception, or at the very least they are extremely sensitive to the way that human eyes are oriented," said Auguste von Bayern, formerly of the University of Cambridge and now at the University of Oxford.
Here's another reason why dieters should avoid all-you-can-eat buffets: When faced with a large variety of items, consumers tend to underestimate how much of each item is present, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Authors Joseph P. Redden (University of Minnesota) and Stephen J. Hoch (University of Pennsylvania) investigated consumers' perceptions of quantity in a set of experiments that may help us understand how quantity perceptions influence portion sizes.
"Does a bowl with both red and blue candies seem to have more or less than a bowl with only one color candy?" the researchers asked. "Contrary to popular belief, the presence of variety actually makes it seem like there are fewer items."
Video games that involve high levels of action,like first-person-shooter games, can increase real-world vision, according to research in Nature Neuroscience, including discerning slight differences in shades of gray; an attribute of the human visual system that can't be improved, it has been believed.
Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, says that very practiced action gamers can actually become 58 percent better at perceiving fine differences in contrast.
Humans excel at recognizing faces, but how we do this has been an abiding mystery in neuroscience and psychology. In an effort to explain our success in this area, researchers are taking a closer look at how and why we fail.
A new study from MIT looks at a particularly striking instance of failure: our impaired ability to recognize faces in photographic negatives. The study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week, suggests that a large part of the answer might lie in the brain's reliance on a certain kind of image feature.
About one in 3,500 people are affected with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a disease of the retina's visual cells that eventually leads to blindness. Now, a University of Missouri researcher has identified a genetic link between cats and humans for two different forms of RP. This discovery will help scientists develop gene-based therapies that will benefit both cats and humans.
Researchers examined the genetic mutations in two groups of cats; one with a congenital form of RP and another with a late-onset form and were able to identify the genes responsible for both forms of the disease in cats.