Everbody Must Get Stone

Well put it this way.  If everybody got Stone, I’d suggest that the developmental/behavioral approach to vision would be further enriched.  James Stone first caught my eye as a co-author of the book Seeing, joining John Frisby in elaborating the computational approach to biological vision most often attributed to David Marr.


Practitioners in the UK tend to be more familiar with Frisby’s Stereotest, and it is a wonderful test for the perception random dot stereopsis in real space, particularly as used clinically with young children.



Stone CoverAs much as I think you’ll enjoy the book co-authored by Frisby and Stone on Seeing in 2010 , the solo authored book on Vision and Brain by Stone in 2012 may be even more enjoyable.   First, an admitted bias here.  I’ll be participating in a panel presentation on Simulated Stereoscopic 3D Vision on Thursday at the Annual COVD Meeting (see pps. 23-24), so depth is on my mind.   In introducing the topic of Stereo Vision, Stone (who refers to Depth as The Rogue Dimension) writes:  “For those of us with stereo vision, seeing depth seems unremarkable.  But if you’ve spent most of your life without stereo vision then you can fully appreciate the impact of acquiring it.  This is what happened to Dr. Susan Barry, who was stereoblind from infancy, due to a squint.  In adulthood she was able to learn to acquire stereo vision, and her reaction tells of the profound difference  it made to her … ”  (Stone references the interview from Review of Optometry.  A poignant complement to that is the Review of Optometry’s interview of Oliver Sacks.)

We’re always looking for nice composite computational diagrams of The Visual Brain, and Stone has one on page 91 (Figure 4.7).


Two things of note here.  One is how densely intertwined stereopsis is with orientation and color in area V2 of the striate cortex.  The second is that although there are no double-headed arrows in the diagram, Stone writes that most of the input connections to LGN come not from the retina, but from V1 feedback connections.  I’m afraid I could go on in my rhapsodic Stone state for hours, but suffice it to say that there is much to commend about his impressive body of work which is catalogued here.

BayesRuleBookCoverFrontOkay – just so that I leave no Stone unturned, I’ll confess that my other attraction to his concepts about vision is the incorporation of Bayes’ Rule.   Three years ago, at about the same time of year – when the COVD annual meeting seems to make many of us rhapsodic – I blogged about how Bayesian Probability influenced visual attention.  If you glance back at Figure 4.7 above you’ll note how pivotal the pulvinar is (see upper left corner).  This pulvinarian link to the behavioral doctrine that “vision is motor” was reflected in part in a symposium at last year’s meeting of the Vision Sciences Society.  When Sue Barry, Paul Harris and I travelled to the Vision Sciences Society seven years ago, part of our agenda was both to see what vision scientists were up to, but also to expose them to the interrelatedness of behavioral optometry during a demonstration, as elaborated in the Journal of Behavioral Optometry.  As impatient as I get at times, it can take many years before the fruits of one’s labors are fully realized.


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