Lindsay Westlake

Lindsay  Westlake
MIT EECS | Himawan Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Aude Oliva
Department: EECS
Areas of Research: Computer Vision or Graphics
Years: 2017-2018
Research Project Title:

Decoding Human Visual Processing

abstract:To understand the visual world, the human brain must tie together simple features into complex wholes through a process called binding. Research to date has shown that the rhythmic firing of neurons in the gamma band (30-80 Hz) is associated with this process. Using MEG, we can observe these oscillations, and with a multivariate approach aided by support vector machines, we are able to interpret these data to obtain a fine characterization of the gamma response to a variety of stimuli. For this project, we will be focusing on Kanizsa figures, a class of illusions that cause the human brain to bind contours to form a shape. This would allow us to better understand the process by which the human brain binds features and is able to process its visual surroundings.

“As a student in the Computer Science and Molecular Biology Program (6-7), I am very interested in interdisciplinary research that applies computer science and mathematical principles to life-science questions. This project presents the opportunity to apply some of what I have already learned to an exciting discipline that I rarely get to see in my coursework.”