Dr. Ian Max Andolina



The neuronal priors that guide visual illusions


Jan Purkinje optimistically declared in 1819 that “visual illusions reveal visual truths”. Yet the subjective paradoxical nature of illusions, and our inability to subject them to our volitional will, ensure that they remain popular with both the general public and cognitive neuroscientists. Although they can be considered “ephemeral”, many classes of illusion can nevertheless be studied in detail using scientific methods. Even more pertinently, recent progress has demonstrated that animals are just as susceptible to visual illusions as humans are, enabling a better delineation of the neural mechanisms that underlie these phenomena. In this talk I will discuss some of our recent results in the context of motion and luminance based illusions, combining psychophysics in human and animal subjects with electrophysiological recordings. In addition we are just starting to test which classes of illusion are “perceived” by artificial neural networks, which we hope will enable us to compare and contrast the visual mechanisms that subserve natural and artificial vision. 

Brief Bio