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Researchers Go Natural in Visual Studies

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Science  23 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5389, pp. 614-616
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5389.614b

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Summary

Neuroscientists usually use artificial stimuli to probe visual processing, but recent work using natural images is providing some surprising new insights into why visual neurons have evolved the properties they have, what controls the responses of individual neurons, and how our brains process the images we actually see. It turns out, for example, that when the visual system responds to complex natural scenes, interactions between neurons are much more important than had been previously known. Researchers are also hoping that natural scenes will help them understand the functions of some visual neurons whose activities until now have been a complete mystery.

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