Higher Level Visual Processing

I hope that after this lesson you will never take your brain and mind’s amazing ability to recognize objects and process vision for granted again. We all take it for granted because almost all of the processing is occurring in the unconscious part of our mind. Doing this work in the unconscious allows us to do parallel processing which means that we can do a bunch of different types or pathways of processing at the same time. This is necessary for us to recognize objects in real time. One of the reasons that scientists have realized how amazing our object recognition skills are has to do with trying to make computers that can do the same thing. Watch this 4 minute lecture from an artificial intelligence course about why object recognition is so hard. Remember that brains are also using the intensity and color of light detected by individual photoreceptors, and somehow putting it together and recognizing objects.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJIyRwGAv_Y (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
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Now read module 5.3 (module 6.3 in the 11th edition).

Another way that helps us understand what the brain normally does is to study people who have a deficit. You read a little about visual agnosia in the textbook. Now listen to a fascinating story on Radiolab (one of my favorite radio shows to use in class!) about prosopagnosia (inability to recognize faces) with Oliver Saks and a famous portrait painter. It is about 25 minutes long, if you are rushed for time just listen to the first 10 minutes or so. Feel free to download it as a podcast and listen to it on your phone or ipod during your commute or while you make dinner!

http://www.radiolab.org/story/91967-strangers-in-the-mirror/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Now answer the following questions:

1.What practical difficulties (in their daily lives) occur to people with agnosias? Note: do not just define what an agnosia is, say how that problem affects people.

2. How do people with visual agnosias adapt?

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