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Brain – Transformation of Visual Signals

Brain – Transformation of Visual Signals

It is interesting to know how the Brain transforms visual signals into beautiful images. How do we perceive a mountain vista or passing clouds as beautiful?

A team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Empirical Aesthetics did a research on this functionality of brain. They presented artistic landscape videos to 24 participants. The used the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) technique to measure the subject’s brain activity by viewing and rating the videos.

The findings of the team have been published in the open-access journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. In the article “From Visual Perception to Aesthetic Appeal”, the first author A. Ilkay Isik has explained as follows.

“would have expected the esthetic signals to be limited to the brain’s reward systems, but surprisingly, we found them already present in visual areas of the brain while the participants were watching the videos. The activations occurred right next to brain regions deployed in recognizing physical features in movies, such as the layout of a scene or the presence of motion.”

Source of information: MedicalXpress

Original Research Article

In the article, the authors Ayse Ilkay Isik and Edward A. Vessel say as follows.

“During aesthetically appealing visual experiences, visual content provides a basis for computation of affectively tinged representations of aesthetic value. How this happens in the brain is largely unexplored. Using engaging video clips of natural landscapes, we tested whether cortical regions that respond to perceptual aspects of an environment were directly modulated by rated aesthetic appeal.”

Stimuli and Procedures

The researchers used video clips of landscapes collected from videos or from non-narrative cinematic films. The participants completed a six minute resting state scan during which they were asked to fixate a central fixation cross on a gray background. Then in the following runs they viewed 32 landscape movies in an order counterbalanced across participants. During the videos, the participants were asked to make continuous evaluations of their aesthetic enjoyment.

Read the Original Research Article here

Disclaimer: Information provided here is only for public awareness.

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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