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Journal Article

Brains studying brains: look before you think in vision

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Zhaoping, L. (2016). Brains studying brains: look before you think in vision. Physical Biology, 13(3): 035002, pp. 1-14.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-C263-3
Using our own brains to study our brains is extraordinary. For example, in vision this makes us naturally blind to our own blindness, since our impression of seeing our world clearly is consistent with our ignorance of what we do not see. Our brain employs its 'conscious' part to reason and make logical deductions using familiar rules and past experience. However, human vision employs many 'subconscious' brain parts that follow rules alien to our intuition. Our blindness to our unknown unknowns and our presumptive intuitions easily lead us astray in asking and formulating theoretical questions, as witnessed in many unexpected and counter-intuitive difficulties and failures encountered by generations of scientists. We should therefore pay a more than usual amount of attention and respect to experimental data when studying our brain. I show that this can be productive by reviewing two vision theories that have provided testable predictions and surprising insights.