Dr. Michael W. Levine

Text Box: Please note that I am retired, and my UIC lab has been closed. I am not accepting students or other assistance.	

Office: 1022D BSB
Phone (312)-996-6133
E-Mail to MikeL@UIC.EDU


Vision Sciences Society presentations (pdf versions)

SensPerc – a somewhat interactive program to supplement a Sensation and Perception course…

Go Back to UIC Michael Levine Page.

Research InterestsRecent work and abstracts

My research was in visual processing. After many years studying retinal processing, I then turned my attention to higher-level visual processing in the human brain.

An aspect to which I have devoted considerable attention in the past is the variability of the visual signal. The firing that presumably carries visual information is unsteady and stochastic. It is possible that this variability can provide a window into the processing by which it is combined with the deterministic signal. There also is the question of why we see so clearly given this noisy input; this raises the tantalizing possibility that the "noise" is actually an indispensable part of the process by which we interpret the visual stimulus; paper. A more recent study of the transmission at the thalamus appeared in Brain Research. Recent paper. In the future, I hope to extend the psychophysical studies to include the effects of variability (noise) on the processing in the various pathways.

My more recent work includes psychophysical examinations of a phenomenon we refer to as "blanking" -- a visual illusion based on the scintillating grid in which a normally clear stimulus can be rendered completely invisible. This project is being spearheaded by Jason McAnany, a graduate student in my lab. This work has been presented at the VSS meeting in May, 2002; paper. A refinement that examines the roles of central and peripheral processing was presented at VSS 2003.

One of the interesting observations to come from the blanking studies is that the effect is stronger in the upper visual field. We explored the differences between upper and lower fields, and found that which field is better at a task depends on the nature of the task. Specifically, color is better processes in the lower visual field, but apparent depth in the upper field. Preliminary results were presented at VSS 2004; paper. Examinations of the magno- and parvo-cellular contributions to these effects (McAnany & Levine) and the spatial frequency dependencies of the effects (Levine & McAnany) were presented at VSS 2005.

We also explored the effects of curvature of the alleys, which reveals at least two mechanisms (paper): an illusory effect upon light targets in arrays of dark shapes, and a general reduction of all targets with increased complexity of the grid. A follow-up paper confirms that the illusory effect (but not the overall complexity effect) depends on the relative orientation of target and nearby alley. We also found that white shapes have their orientation-dependent illusory effect upon dark targets, but are considerably less effective than dark shapes.

I am currently consukting with Leslie Cameron of Carthage College and Jennifer Anderson on visual field inhomogeneities. They presented some of this work at VSS 2014. (Some preliminary work was presented at VSS 2013.) A methods paper is in Vision Research.

Recent papers


The potential coding utility of intercell cross-correlations in the retina. Michael W. Levine. (2004). Biological Cybernetics 91; 182-187. Springer publishing on-line.

The blanking phenomenon and its psychoanatomical implications. J. Jason McAnany, and Michael W. Levine. (2004).  Vision Research 44; 993-1001.  Science Direct.

A psychoanatomical investigation of the blanking phenomenon. J. Jason McAnany, and Michael W. Levine. (2005). Vision Research. 45; 193-203. PubMed.

 The relative capabilities of the upper and lower visual hemifields. Michael W. Levine and J. Jason McAnany. (2005). Vision Research. 45; 2820-2830. Science Direct

Sensation. Michael. W. Levine. McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology, 10th edition (in press) On line: doi   10.1036/1097-8542.614600


Spectral characteristics of period doubling in the cone flicker electroretinogram. Kenneth. R. Alexander, Michael. W. Levine, and Boaz Super (2005). Visual Neuroscience 22; 817-824. Find


Variability in the firing of retinal ganglion cells of goldfish: A review. Michael W. Levine. (2007). Visual Neuroscience 24; 239-246. Find


Magnocellular and parvocellular visual pathway contributions to visual field anisotropies. J. Jason McAnany, and Michael W. Levine. (2007). Vision Research 47; 2327-2336. Science Direct


The effects of curvature on the grid illusions. Michael W. Levine and J. Jason McAnany. Perception 37; 171-184. doi:10.1068/p5691 http://perceptionweb.com/perception/fulltext/p37/p5691.pdf Science Direct

 Effects of orientation and contrast upon targets in straight and curved arrays. Michael W. Levine, Jennifer E. Anderson, and J. Jason McAnany. Perception 41; 1419-1433. doi:10.1068/p7237   http://dx.doi.org/10.1068/p7237

 A method for quantifying visual field inhomogeneities. Jennifer E. Anderson, E. Leslie Cameron, and Michael W. Levine. (2014). Vision Research 105; 112-120 doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2014.09.010


VSS Posters

VSS  2002 The vanishing disk; a revealing quirk of the scintillating grid illusion J. J. McAnany & M. W. Levine

VSS 2003 The Blanking Phenomenon and its Psychoanatomical Implications J. J. McAnany & M. W. Levine

VSS 2004 The highs and lows of magnocellular and parvocellular processing J. Jason McAnany & Michael W. Levine

VSS 2005a Magnocellular- and parvocellular-pathway contributions to a novel visual illusion J. J. McAnany & M. W. Levine

VSS 2005b More ups and downs of visual processing M. W. Levine & J. J. McAnany

VSS 2006a The role of magnocellular and parvocellular visual pathways in altitudinal visual hemifield anisotropies J. Jason McAnany & Michael W. Levine

VSS 2006b A new twist to the grid illusions Michael W Levine & J. Jason McAnany

VSS 2008a The effect of curvature on the grid illusions: Influence of a homunculus? Michael W Levine, J. Jason McAnany, & Jennifer E. Anderson

VSS 2008b Prestidigitation: Is it easier to fool the eye than the hand? Jennifer E. Anderson, Michael W Levine, & J. Jason McAnany

VSS 2009a Two modes of hiding  suprathreshold stimuli in complex patterns Michael W Levine, Jennifer E. Anderson, & J. Jason McAnany

VSS 2009b Response demands do not influence perceived illusory motion in cognitive-based tasks Jennifer E. Anderson, Michael W Levine, & J. Jason McAnany

VSS 2010  Noise Modulation in the Dorsal and Ventral Visual Pathways Jennifer E. Anderson & Michael W Levine

VSS 2013a  Why might black tetragons be more effective than white for inducing blanking? Jennifer E. Anderson, Michael W Levine, & J. Jason McAnany

VSS 2013b  The effect of stimulus visibility on visual field inhomogeneities. E. Leslie Cameron, Michael W. Levine & Jennifer E. Anderson

VSS 2014 The Effect of Crowder Configuration on Visual Field Inhomogeneities. Jennifer E. Anderson, E. Leslie Cameron, J. Jason McAnany, & Michael W. Levine

VSS 2015 Exploring the vertical meridian asymmetry: Is poor performance restricted to the vertical meridian? Leslie Cameron, Michael Levine, & Jennifer Anderson

VSS 2016 The effect of task and target size on the north effect Leslie Cameron, Michael Levine, & Jennifer Anderson

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