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Higher-order figure discrimination in fly and human vision.


Visually-guided animals rely on their ability to stabilize the panorama and simultaneously track salient objects, or figures, that are distinct from the background in order to avoid predators, pursue food resources and mates, and navigate spatially. Visual figures are distinguished by luminance signals that produce coherent motion cues as well as more enigmatic 'higher-order' statistical features. Figure discrimination is thus a complex form of motion vision requiring specialized neural processing. In this minireview, we will highlight recent advances in understanding the perceptual, behavioral, and neurophysiological basis of higher-order figure detection in flies, much of which is grounded in the historical perspective and mechanistic underpinnings of human psychophysics.

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