Benjamin Backus PhD
SUNY Optometry, Vision Sciences
Current Position: Associate Professor
Keywords Research Areas: binocular vision, perception, stereoscopic vision, stereopsis, perceptual learning, depth perception, cue recruitment, classical conditioning, recovery of visual function
Research Focus:
  • Central Visual Processing
  • Collaborative Clinical and Epidemiological Research/Clinical Trials
  • Strabismus, Amblyopia
  • Visual Psychophysics
Clinical Relevance:
  • Optometry
Synopsis Of Research:

The Backus Lab does basic and clinically relevant research on visual perception and perceptual learning. Current work (funded by the NIH, NSF, and Human Frontier Science Program) focuses on the adult visual system's ability to learn from experience. This learning can affect the way things look: we study how people learn to use new visual cues for seeing (cue recruitment), how they get better at precise vision tasks (improved sensitivity with practice), and changes to the neural substrates that support binocular vision.

Current Or Representative Publications:
  1. Backus, B.T. (2009). The Mixture of Bernoulli Experts: a theory to quantify reliance on cues in dichotomous perceptual decisions. J Vis, 9, 6 1-19.
  2. Wilmer, J.B., & Backus, B.T. (2009). Genetic and environmental contributions to strabismus and phoria: evidence from twins. Vision Res, 49, 2485-2493.
  3. Haijiang, Q., Saunders, J.A., Stone, R.W., & Backus, B.T. (2006). Demonstration of cue recruitment: Change in visual appearance by means of Pavlovian conditioning. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 103, 483-488.
  4. Backus, B.T., Fleet, D.J., Parker, A.J., & Heeger, D.J. (2001). Human cortical activity correlates with stereoscopic depth perception. J Neurophysiol, 86, 2054-2068.
  5. Backus, B.T., Banks, M.S., van Ee, R., & Crowell, J.A. (1999). Horizontal and vertical disparity, eye position, and stereoscopic slant perception. Vision Res, 39, 1143-1170.

State University of New York Medical Centers & College of Optometry Consortium

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