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Undergraduate Programs

BCSC 220: The Intelligent Eye

Cross-listed: NSCI/PSYC/CVSC 220
Prerequisites: BCSC 151
Offered: Spring

Aristotle described visual perception as "to know what is where by looking." This common-sense description of what it means to see reflects our phenomenal experience with the ease and simplicity of perception. This apparent simpicity is the first of many illusions that students will encounter in the class. Computers have achieved grand master status in chess, yet still cannot solve vision problems that young children handle with ease every second of their waking day. The course will provide an inter-disciplinary view of modern research into how the human brain solves the problems involved in perception, including how we perceive the three dimensional structure of the world, how we recognize objects and how visual information is used to control action in the world. Students will read contemporary research papers that will expose them to the science that has forced us to reconceptualize, sometimes in non-intuitive ways, how vision works. Through classroom discussion and a series of critical essays, students will explore and analyze the questions and debates that define contemporary perceptual science.