New research has shown the there are specific, consistent patterns that create the illusion of 3D images in our brains. It is created by stimulating specific nerve cells. Researchers created a 2D image designed to excite those nerves specifically and found surprising results.
“We created the images by taking random noise and smearing it out across the image in specific patterns. It’s a bit like finger painting, except it’s done by computer”, explains Roland Fleming, Professor of Psychology at the University of Giessen. “The way the texture gets smeared out is not the way texture behaves in the real 3D world. But it allows us to selectively stimulate so-called ‘complex cells’ in visual cortex, which measure the local 2D orientation of patterns in the retinal image”.
The cells in question read boundaries in images.