perception: touch, taste, hearing, vision, smell

Information about our surroundings comes to us in many forms -- patterns of light falling on the retina, vibrating columns of air within the ear, fluctuating pressure on the fingertips, and so on. The job of the brain’s perceptual systems is to make sense of these signals in order to construct an internal representation of the external world.

Researchers at the McGovern Institute study perception at many levels, using a wide range of techniques. Nancy Kanwisher uses functional neuroimaging to understand the organization of the human vision system. James DiCarlo studies object recognition in monkeys and humans, collaborating closely with Tomaso Poggio, who develops computational models of biological perception. And Martha Constantine-Paton studies how experience shapes the wiring of the visual system.

  Image courtesy istockphoto