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February 11, 2014

SUNY Optometry Researchers Solve 400-Year-Old Question

It was a problem that perplexed Galileo more than four centuries ago. Now, SUNY Optometry researchers have published a seminal paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science that advances the understanding of how our brains are wired for seeing white versus black objects, solving this long-standing conundrum.

The effect that Drs. Jens KremkowJose Manuel AlonsoQasim Zaidi and their collaborators studied is responsible for how we see everything from textures and faces, to why it is easier to read a page with black-on-white lettering, rather than white-on-black (a well-known, and until now, unexplained phenomenon.) By tracing these effects as a function of the way neurons are laid out and interconnected in the retina and brain, the researchers found that the illusion is potentially derived from the very origin of vision—in photoreceptors of the eye themselves.

Here's a closer look behind the work that was published on February 10, 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (click here to view the paper) 

The publication created a flood of global media attention which you can view here.