HOW VISION SUCCEEDS IN AN UNKNOWN WORLD
Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore
Photo-sensors cannot measure the parameters that define reality, thus excluding information about the physical world from the mechanisms of biological vision. Nonetheless, the behavior of humans and other visual animals is routinely successful. The purpose of the talk is to consider how this feat is accomplished, and what the apparent strategy implies about vision and other brain functions.
Dale Purves is Professor of Neurobiology, Psychology and Brain Sciences, and Philosophy at Duke University, and is presently the Director of the Neuroscience and Behavioral Disorders Program at the Duke-NUS Graduate School in Singapore. He came to Duke in 1990 as the founding chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Duke Medical Center and was subsequently Director of Duke’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. He earned his B.A. from Yale and his M.D. from Harvard Medical School. Purves was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1989 for his work on neural development and synaptic plasticity; however, his research over the last 15 years years has sought to explain why we see and hear what we do, focusing on the visual perception of brightness, color, form, and motion, and the auditory perception of music and speech. His books include Principles of Neural Development (with Jeff Lichtman; Sinaur,1985) Body and Brain (Harvard,1988); Neural Activity and the Growth of the Brain (Cambridge, 1992); Why We See What we Do (with Beau Lotto; Sinauer, 2003); Perceiving Geometry (with Catherine Howe; Springer 2005); Why We See What we Do Redux (Sinauer, 2011) and Brains: How they Seem to Work (Financial Times Press, 2011). He is also lead author on the textbooks Neuroscience, Fifth Edition (Sinauer, 2011) and Principles of Cognitive Neuroscience, Second Edition (Sinauer, 2012). More information, access to publications and a complete CV are available at www.purveslab.net.