still more on eyes

Eyes seem to be flavour of the month at the moment 🙂 PZ has just put up a fascinating post – about using MRI technology to see the images forming in the visual cortex of volunteers as they look at pictures of letters of the alphabet.

Truly. But he points out that it’s not like Big Brother will be using this technique to read your mind any time soon. For a start, it takes a fair bit of time, partly because the volunteers had to stare fixedly at the pictures for 12 seconds – that’s a very long time to keep your eyes fixed on a single point. (Normally your eyes are constantly in motion, even if you’re not aware of it.)

Anyway, go over there & read the whole thing. When I first saw it, it reminded me of the old (& I thought rather creepy) idea that the last thing someone saw as they died was imprinted on their retina. So if someone was murdered while looking the bad guy in the face, you had only to find some way of visualising that image & bingo! you had your man. Or woman. In one case this led to quite a lot of frogs (I think, from memory) dying rather abrupt deaths so that the researcher could ‘develop’ the retinal image. Think what he could have done with MRI!

4 thoughts on “still more on eyes”

  • Speaking of PZ’s blog, one of his articles today points to an article on teratoma or fetus in fetu found inside a newborn’s brain. What do you make of that. I’ve read about both teratomas and fetus in fetu before, but this is a new twist!

  • Alison Campbell says:

    Yes, I saw that. I thought it was rather wonderful, in a gruesome sort of way… Leroi says something about teratomas too, doesn’t he (in ‘Mutants’)? But this was the first ‘in-brain’ one I’d ever heard of! If it turns out to be ‘fetus in fetu’, one wonders what the pro-life side would have to say…

  • Still lurking, and still enjoying all your posts, Alison. Thank you for blogging so much about eye evolution lately, and also for the links back to previous posts! Your old link to the “1994 paper [by] Nilsson & Pelger” is broken due to JSTOR restructuring, but I haven’t let that hold me back too much, of course, because now I have a wealth of little PDFs on the issue to wade through! 🙂
    Thanks again,

  • Alison Campbell says:

    Blame the eye interest on Ken’s ‘friend’ James – I’m doing my little bit to counter that sort of nonsense 😉 Thanks for the heads-up about the link; when I find a minute I’ll fix it. Merry Christmas (or, a la PZ, Happy Monkey!)

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