Illusory contours: a window onto the neurophysiology of constructing perception
AUTHORS: Murray MM, Herrmann CS
Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 17(9): 471-81, September 2013
Seeing seems effortless, despite the need to segregate and integrate visual information that varies in quality, quantity, and location. The extent to which seeing passively recapitulates the external world is challenged by phenomena such as illusory contours, an example of visual completion whereby borders are perceived despite their physical absence in the image. Instead, visual completion and seeing are increasingly conceived as active processes, dependent on information exchange across neural populations. How this is instantiated in the brain remains controversial. Divergent models emanate from single-unit and population-level electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and neurostimulation studies. We reconcile discrepant findings from different methods and disciplines, and underscore the importance of taking into account spatiotemporal brain dynamics in generating models of brain function and perception.