Professor Jeremy Wolfe
Bio: Jeremy Wolfe is Director of the Visual Attention Lab and Professor of Ophthalmology and Radiology at Harvard Medical School. He is also a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, and an Adjunct Associate Professor in Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University. His research is focussed on understanding visual search processes, and is working to improve performance in complex, applied visual search tasks, like medical screening and airport security.
Abstract: You can understand a scene within a fraction of a second. If you examine that for a few seconds, you will recognise it, even several days later. Nevertheless, we can easily show that you are ‘blind’ or at least remarkably amnesic about very basic aspects of what you have seen (For example; “What colour was right there a moment ago?”). Moreover, people are typically blind to this blindness, overestimating what they can see or have seen. These aspects of normal visual function have interesting, sometimes troubling, consequences when we turn to socially important visual search tasks like airport security or cancer screening in radiology. The factors that produce “blindness” and “amnesia” in routine visual perception are factors in these critical tasks as well. Understanding the interaction of image and viewer may provide opportunities for technological interventions to help us see what needs to be seen.
Visual Attention Lab, Harvard Medical School web link: