We Know It When We See It: What the Neurobiology of Vision Tells Us About How We Think (Hardcover)

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p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.3px Times} A Harvard researcher investigates the human eye in this insightful account of what vision reveals about intelligence, learning, and the greatest mysteries of neuroscience.

Spotting a face in a crowd is so easy, you take it for granted. But how you do it is one of science's great mysteries. And vision is involved with so much of everything your brain does. Explaining how it works reveals more than just how you see. In We Know It When We See It, Harvard neuroscientist Richard Masland tackles vital questions about how the brain processes information -- how it perceives, learns, and remembers -- through a careful study of the inner life of the eye.

Covering everything from what happens when light hits your retina, to the increasingly sophisticated nerve nets that turn that light into knowledge, to what a computer algorithm must be able to do before it can be called truly "intelligent," We Know It When We See It is a profound yet approachable investigation into how our bodies make sense of the world.

About the Author


Richard Masland is the David Glendenning Cogan distinguished professor of ophthalmology and professor of neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. For many years he was director for research in ophthalmology at Harvard's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, the world's largest vision research institute. He is a fellow of the AAAS, a former Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, and a recipient of the Proctor Medal and Alcon Research Award, among others. Masland has made groundbreaking contributions to the study of neural networks and to the reversal of blindness. He divides his time between Boston, Massachusetts and Frenchtown, Maryland.

Praise For…


"How do we recognize a face in a crowd? Starting with this question, Masland teaches us not only how we see but how we think and remember. Step by step, he paints a picture of the brain as a dynamic, wide-ranging coalition of nerve nets. This picture provides striking parallels with artificial intelligence and highlights the remarkable adaptability, creativity, and resilience of the brain."—Susan R. Barry, author of Fixing My Gaze and professor emeritus of neuroscience and behavior, Mount Holyoke College

"We Know It When We See It is the definitive description of the neuroscience of perception. Using language anyone can understand, Masland teaches us about the hardware -- the cells and circuits, and the software -- the logic and computations, that our brains use to create our experience of the world. Anyone interested in perception, machines that can learn, or how the brain works should read it."—Andrew D. Huberman, professor of neurobiology and Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine

"A masterful page-turner that braids science and the stories behind the science. Wise, insightful, and written with the approachability and wisdom that only a veteran of the field can achieve."—David Eagleman, neuroscientist at Stanford, New York Times-bestselling author


Product Details
ISBN: 9781541618503
ISBN-10: 1541618505
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication Date: March 10th, 2020
Pages: 272