August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
The Brains Dress Code: How The Dress allows to decode the neuronal pathway of an optical illusion
Author Affiliations
  • Lara Schlaffke
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
  • Anne Golisch
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
  • Lauren M Haag
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
  • Melanie Lenz
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
  • Stefanie Heba
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
  • Silke Lissek
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
  • Tobias Schmidt-Wilcke
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
  • Ulf T. Eysel
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
  • Martin Tegenthoff
    Department of Neurology, BG University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 747. doi:10.1167/16.12.747
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      Lara Schlaffke, Anne Golisch, Lauren M Haag, Melanie Lenz, Stefanie Heba, Silke Lissek, Tobias Schmidt-Wilcke, Ulf T. Eysel, Martin Tegenthoff; The Brains Dress Code: How The Dress allows to decode the neuronal pathway of an optical illusion. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):747. doi: 10.1167/16.12.747.

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      © 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

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Abstract

Optical illusions have broadened our understanding of the brains role in visual perception 13. A modern day optical illusion emerged from a posted photo of a striped dress, which some perceived as white and gold and others as blue and black. Theories on the differences have been proposed and included e.g. colour constancy, contextual integration, and the principle of ambiguous forms4, however no consensus has yet been reached. The fact that one group sees a white/gold dress, instead of the actual blue/black dress, provides a control and therefore a unique opportunity in vision research, where two groups perceive the same object differently. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) we can identify human brain regions that are involved in this optical illusion concerning colour perception and investigate the neural correlates that underlie the observed differences. Furthermore open questions in visual neuroscience concerning the computation of complex visual scenes can be addressed. Here we show, using fMRI, that those who perceive The Dress as white/gold (n=14) have higher activation in response to The Dress in brain regions critically involved in visual processing and conflict management (V2, V4, as well as frontal and parietal brain areas), as compared to those who perceive The Dress as blue/black (n=14). These results are consistent with the theory of top-down modulation5 and extend the Retinex theory6 to include differing strategies the brain uses to form a coherent representation of the world around us. This provides a fundamental building block to study interindividual differences in visual processing.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016

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