Bevil Conway

Bevil Conway

Bevil Conway is an artist, an Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Wellesley College, and a Lecturer on Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. His research examines the neural basis for visual behavior, with a particular focus on color, and investigates the relationship between visual processing, visual art, and art practice. His artwork explores a range of topics and themes including the limits of visualization, cultural metamorphosis, and concepts of beauty and the sublime.

His research uses various techniques including whole brain functional imaging (fMRI), single-unit neuron recording, psychophysics, and computational approaches. His work has been supported by major grants from the Whitehall Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, where he was the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Fellow in 2010/2011. His work provided the first conclusive proof of double-opponent neurons in primary visual cortex; these cells have been postulated to underlie color contrast and color constancy, and are essential building blocks of color vision. Using a combination of fMRI and targeted single-unit recording, Bevil and his team have gone on to identify specialized modules at a stage in the color-processing hierarchy downstream of primary visual cortex important for encoding hue.

Photo by Joanne Rathe, Boston Globe

Colour Group (GB) Annual Vision Meeting 2014: The organization and operation of color circuits in inferior temporal cortex

The talk focuses on color as a model system to gain traction on how cortical circuits function to bring about high-level perception and cognition. After a brief review of the putative neural mechanisms for color contrast in V1, Conway turns his attention to the great swath of extrastriate cortex implicated in object vision. He describes recent experiments aimed at uncovering the functional organization of color circuits within inferior temporal cortex, and what these circuits may be doing in service of color perception and color cognition.

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