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The Vision Revolution: How the Latest Research Overturns Everything We Thought We Knew About Human Vision Hardcover – June 2, 2009
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...the novel ideas that Mr. Changizi outlines in "The Vision Revolution"--together with the evidence he does present--may have a big effect on our understanding of the human brain. Their implication is that the environments we evolved in shaped the design of our visual system according to a set of deep principles. Our challenge now is to see them clearly. --The Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2009
Throughout the book, Changizi peppers his explanations with quick, fascinating visual exercises that help to drive his points home...Changizi's theories are appealing and logical, and he backs them with good circumstantial evidence.... One thing is certain: The Vision Revolution will make you wonder the next time you notice someone blush, catch a ball or finish reading a magazine page. --Scientific American MIND, July 2009
Readers, however, need not be well versed in academic debates to enjoy Changizi's lucid explanations. Filled with optical illusions and simple experiments for the reader to perform, this book may be the most fun you'll have learning about human cognition and evolution. --Jennifer Curry, Barnes & Noble Review, July 2009
"the book does present some novel hypotheses--supported by evidence, much of it from Changizi's research.... The writing style is clear and captivating; the illustrations are nicely done and helpful." --Choice Magazine, November 2009
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More About the Author
He attended the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, and then went on to the University of Virginia for a degree in physics and mathematics, and to the University of Maryland for a PhD in math. In 2002 he won a prestigious Sloan-Swartz Fellowship in Theoretical Neurobiology at Caltech, and in 2007 he became an assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In 2010 he took the post of Director of Human Cognition at a new research institute called 2ai Labs.
He has more than three dozen scientific journal articles, some of which have been covered in news venues such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and WIRED. He has written three books, THE BRAIN FROM 25,000 FEET (Kluwer 2003), THE VISION REVOLUTION (Benbella 2009) and HARNESSED: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man (Benbella 2011). He is working on his fourth non-fiction book, this one on emotions and facial expressions, called FORCE OF EMOTIONS. He is simultaneously working on his first novel, called HUMAN 3.0.
[Photo credit: Rensselaer / Mark McCarty.]
Top Customer Reviews
Intriguing riddles such as these often necessitate interdisciplinary brilliance to solve. Theoretical biologist and neuroscientist Mark Changizi has been stockpiling research in these areas for much of the last decade, fixated on some of the fascinating but imperfectly understood precincts of human perception. Not content with asking how our central nervous system functions, Changizi is determined to provide explanations of why its architecture and inter-operative functionality exist as they do. The Vision Revolution, should it withstand the scrutiny of peer review, is a groundbreaking work in vision science that brings forward original research into the evolution of the human visual system.
In the book he pivots between four core ideas, each of which are given mystical titles:
1) Color telepathy: "Color vision was selected for so that we might see emotions and other states on the skin."
2) X-ray vision: "Forward-facing eyes were selected for so we could use X-ray vision in cluttered environments."
3) Future-seeing: "Optical illusions are a consequence of the future-seeing power selected for so that we might perceive the present."
4) Spirit-reading: "Letters culturally evolved into shapes that look like things in nature because nature is what we have evolved to be good at seeing."
Each entrée of this technical collation is truly mind-altering, and it is a joy to tag along as Mark architects the empirical struts of his developmental theses. Let's dive right in.Read more ›
The writing style is certainly quite authoritative, friendly, generally clear and even rather lively. Regarding accessibility, as noted above, I found the chapters quite readable but becoming progressively more complex near the ends. Overall, I learned quite a bit from this book. I was also quite surprised at much of the information presented. I think that this book can be of much value to anyone with an interest in how the eye-brain system works and why it works the way it does.
I wish the font of the book (printed edition) was better and was more evenly spaced -which would have made for a better reading experience. Also, the author would have reached a lot more mainstream audience by making the style more conversational - as he does in some sections later in the book (see "My Supercomputer Is Running Slowly" in the "Future-Seeing" chapter) but not early enough. Such changes would have catapulted this book to the "Freakanomics - Outliers" level. These, though, are relatively minor points when you think about the expanse of topics presented in this book and great care given to the color pictures, photographs, charts and other artifacts.
This book is both interesting and educational and provides an optimistic note in the realm of vision research, especially for anyone frustrated with funding cutbacks in such research areas. There are many practical applications that can be drawn from this book and the work highlighted and recommend this book highly.
His discussion of contours and combinations of contours as models for written signs is equally fascinating. Here, he sets off speculation about two issues. Is the basic repertory of signs for contours related in any way to the neural wiring of the retina and the brain, which preferentially recognizes certain shapes and alignments: horizontals, verticals, diagonals (as per the pioneering research of David Hubell & Margaret Livingstone)? And could this "machine code," so to speak, of vision be related to abstract forms in art? This last question is of particular interest in relation to Cubism and abstract painting. Perhaps their basic vocabulary is in some way related to the "natural" structure of vision.
A book that constantly provokes new reflections, not just about vision, but about life and culture.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When purchased this book I expected to find Scientific book. I am scientist myself, so I was really disappointed! Read morePublished 11 months ago by Kseniya
While book is based on useful facts the manner of delivery is not in line with the material. Ample dilution of the facts and logical constructions by emotionally overcharged... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
The first section of the book about color is extremely interesting. The later chapters about illusions and "Xray vision" are meh and feel like a stretch at best.Published 18 months ago by Eric Christian
Having read all the five star feedbacks I enthusiastically bought this book only to be sourly disappointed. Read morePublished 18 months ago by B
Changazi uses a lot of humor and science to bring to light how vision enlightens the human experience. He even answers his email..Published on January 1, 2014 by rhodoguru
As an avid reader of books about vision, I was compelled to write to Dr. Changizi about The Vision Revolution to thank him for sharing his amazing work. Read morePublished on November 12, 2013 by Katherine Collmer
Changizi's book is fascinating, but in the Kindle format it's almost unreadable. In black and white, the illustrations of the human eye's unique ability to sense subtle red and... Read morePublished on September 3, 2013 by ADMurr