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What can implied dynamics tell us about the brain?


Thornton,  IM
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Thornton, I. (2001). What can implied dynamics tell us about the brain?. Poster presented at First International Meeting on The Art of Seeing and the Seeing of Art, Canberra, Australia.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E19B-3
A painting or a photograph presents us with a single moment, frozen in time. Many artists and photographers, however, can still capture subtle hints of movement or change, often, just barely reflected traces of real-world dynamics, despite the constraints imposed by "static" media. How are such implied dynamics achieved? Where do they come from? Are they predominantly in the hand of the artist or in the eye, or rather, the brain of the observer? Can we isolate and measure specific neural and behavioural consequences in human observers? In this talk I will first attempt illustrate the notion of implied dynamics with a few (hopefully!) well chosen examples. Next, I will review a variety of perceptual studies which show how such implied dynamics can directly affect the way we mentally represent the world. Finally, I will discuss recent neuroimaging studies that provide the first clues to how and where such effects occur in the brain. Together, studies of implied dynamics suggest that our visual system actively seeks out clues to potential movement or change in the environment, possibly to help anticipate the behaviour of other animate beings and to plan and coordinate our own actions. Clearly, such active perceptual mechanisms would be ideal targets for those wishing to exploit the aesthetic potential of our visual system.