Inside Rensselaer
* Vision Revolution
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Eyes Are the Source of Human “Superpowers”
For Mark Changizi, it’s all in the eyes.

About half of the human brain is used for vision, and sight is the best understood and most thoroughly investigated of the five senses. This is why Changizi, a neurobiology expert and assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer, has spent the past several years researching, writing, and challenging some of the most basic scientific assumptions about human vision.

Reaching beyond “how,” and instead inquiring “why” vision evolved as it has over millions of years, Changizi made a startling discovery: human beings do, indeed, have superpowers. And it turns out that these superpowers, all related to vision, have been instrumental in shaping the way we interact with and see the world.

The end result of Changizi’s eye-opening efforts is The Vision Revolution: How the Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We Knew About Human Vision. The new book is published by BenBella Books.
“Our brains don’t come with user’s manuals listing all the powers we’re capable of — much of what our eyes can do is still not yet known,” Changizi says. “That’s why I think this is new, important, exciting stuff, because we are still today learning about powers we didn’t even know we have.”

Based on a series of peer-reviewed journal articles, The Vision Revolution was carefully framed by Changizi to be accessible and engaging to non-experts as well as science aficionados and career neuroscientists. The new book is a guided tour in which readers accompany Changizi as he rolls up his sleeves and sets out to answer four misleadingly simple questions: Why do we see in color? Why do our eyes face forward? Why do we see illusions? and Why does reading come so naturally to us?

The research was funded in part by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 3, Number 7, August 28, 2009
©2009 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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