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See Inside September / October 2010

Reading between the Lines: How We See Hidden Objects

When an object is partially hidden, the brain deftly reconstructs it as a visual whole

All of which reminds us that a key goal of vision is to detect objects (not merely contours), using any information that happens to be available. Both modal and amodal completion, and the illusions they inspire, derive from this elementary visual imperative

This article was originally published with the title "Illusions: Reading Between the Lines."

(Further Reading)

  • Filling in the Blind Spot. V. S. Ramachandran in Nature, Vol. 356, page 115; March 12, 1992.
  • Amodal Completion in the Absence of Image Tangent Discontinuities. P. U. Tse and M. K. Albert in Perception, Vol. 27, no. 4, pages 455–464; 1998.
  • Filling-in: From Perceptual Completion to Cortical Reorganization. Edited by Luiz Pessoa and Peter de Weerd. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Brain and Visual Perception: The Story of a 25-year Collaboration. David H. Hubel and Torsten N. Wiesel. Oxford University Press, 2004.
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