Whitney Lab Outreach provides your high school, middle school, or elementary school students with dynamic and informative presentations about perception and vision science. Our goal is to spark your students' interest in scientific research and its application to everyday life and art. We are a group of research scientists from the University of California who study vision. For this outreach program, we offer complimentary, condensed, and up-to-date teaching lessons so that students of all ages can experience their own vision with an understanding of how the brain is involved in the process - without being overly technical.
By presenting visual illusions and hands-on demos, we make visual neuroscience accessible and available to a new generation of students who might not get this information until they are in college. Additionally, we will provide your school with access to various resources so you will have a successful vision day for years to come! We hope to visit your high school soon.
As part of our vision science curriculum, we have many interactive demos and illusions to present to students! They are broken down into modules to help students conceptualize the various components of the human visual system and to better understand how we perceive the world with our eyes and our brain.
For more information, please contact our lab manager.
Feature Presentation: Color Blindness Simulation
Shadows, Reflection and Depth
Once we set up and introduce ourselves, we will show your students many engaging and awe inspiring visual illusions, hands-on demonstrations, and examples of visual phenomena that will give eager learners special insight into the way their eyes and brains process the visual world around them.
A typical vision day schedule includes a feature presentation where students can experience what it's like to have color blindness, followed by the 4 separate, but related, vision demo modules which students will experience in small groups.
Our goal is to inspire a scientific interest in students who feel that science may be overwhelming and perplexing. We hope that our demos and lessons will encourage students to think about how the science behind vision affects their daily life.
By breaking the many facets of visual neuroscience into separate, accessible modules, we can make the complex concepts we hope to share easily enjoyable and understandable, without detracting from the hard science or relevant information.
For some of the specific details involved in each of the modules, read on!
Because we use it every day!
If you're interested in learning more about our outreach program, please visit our frequently asked questions page, or send us an email with more specific questions here.
We'd love to visit your school and show your eager students what advanced vision research is all about, and if you become as excited as we are, we can even leave you with materials for further learning and exploration!
This popular demo involves blocking out all natural light in a large classroom or meeting room where we can power several sodium lights, which will emulate an extreme example of the phenomenon of color blindness.
In well lit conditions, we perceive color as different wavelengths of light come in contact with the 3 types of cone photoreceptors in our retina. Students will be able to appreciate the way they see the world in full color as we demonstrate examples of color adaptation, aftereffect and relative color.
Just because an object isn't moving doesn't mean that it won't appear to be moving! This vision module highlights the way in which our ability to see the world around us move can be disrupted or tricked with illusions like the rotating snake, the flash-lag effect and various methods of creating biological motion.
While binocular vision is necessary to see illusions like magic eye posters and 3D movies, many inferred and monocular visual cues become important for seeing depth, shadows and reflections in the world. Here, we combine classic examples like the Ames Room, with other intriguing domains that subtly involve depth perception, such as artwork, impossible objects and size constancy.