Christopher Tyler

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Christopher W. Tyler is a visual neuroscientist,[1] creator of the autostereogram (“Magic Eye” pictures)[2] and is the Head of the Smith-Kettlewell Brain Imaging Center.[3] He also holds a Professorship at City University of London.[4]


Shortly after earning his PhD at the University of Keele (1970), Dr. Tyler became a Research Fellow at Bell Labs (1974–75), where he worked with Bela Julesz, a vision scientist, psychologist and MacArthur Fellow. Julesz, who is well known for his invention of the random dot stereogram, used a computer to create a stereo pair of random-dot images that, when viewed under a stereoscope, caused the brain to see 3-dimensional shapes. This proved that depth perception is a neurological process. After leaving Bell Labs, Tyler took a position at Smith-Kettlewell Institute of Visual Sciences, where he significantly advanced Julesz’s research (in 1979) when he invented the first “random-dot autostereogram” (also known as single-image random-dot stereogram). These images were later known as the “Magic Eye” after they were popularized by several N.E. Thing Enterprises publications that spent a number of weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list. The invention of the autostereogram made it possible for a person to see 3-dimensional shapes from a single 2-dimensional image without the aid of optical equipment.[5]

Tyler's scientific interests are in visual perception and visual neuroscience. His research has contributed to the study of form, symmetry, flicker, motion, color, and stereoscopic depth perception in adults and he has developed tests for the diagnosis of eye diseases in infants and of retinal and optic nerve diseases in adults. He has also studied visual processing and photoreceptor dynamics in other species such as butterflies and fish. His recent scientific work concerns theoretical, psychophysical and functional MRI studies of the structure of global processes such as structure from motion, symmetry, figure/ground and stereoscopic depth perception and their susceptibility to damage in traumatic brain injury.

His interests in the nature of consciousness have resulted in a reconceptualization of the essence of Quantum Physics, in which the Schrodingerian superposition of states is expressed as an inherent property of the conception of probability held by the conscious investigator rather than a property of the physical system per se [FoM paper]. While this retains the role of consciousness in the quantum framework, by casting the superposition solely as a property of the neural conceptualization, it resolves many of the paradoxes of Quantum Physics within the domain of classical physics and avoids their antiscientific illogicality.

Tyler's art investigation articles fall under various topics, including composition,[6] perspective studies, the eye-centering controversy,[7] [8] David Hockney's optical hypothesis,[9] Leonardo self-portraiture, Manet's last painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, Masolino, space in 20th-century art, symmetry: art and neuroscience, the structure of consciousness, and computer art.[10] [11] He makes convincing arguments against the thesis supported by Hockney's book “Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters” that optical projection techniques aided many artist's paintings beginning in the early 15th century, but spread over about two centuries between 1420 and 1595,[12] citing variously Fabriano, Jan van Eyck, Pisanello, Mantegna, Melozzo di Forli, Cranach, Raphael and Moroni. Tyler indicates with geometric reconstructions at his web site Art Optics[13] that the art works under discussion are brilliant paintings by eye rather than those compatible with optical projections.[14]

Tyler's present and recent past associates include Lora Likova, Josh Solomon, Chien-Chung Chen, Spero Nicholas, Mark Schira, Lenny Kontsevich, Russ Hamer, Anthony Norcia, Lauren Barghout, Amy Ione.[15]


  1. ^ Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute. "Christopher Tyler". 
  2. ^ "Magic Eye FAQ". 
  3. ^ Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute. "Christopher Tyler". 
  4. ^ City University of London. "Christopher Tyler". 
  5. ^ Christopher Tyler. "website". 
  6. ^ "Tyler, Christoher W. “Is Art Lawful?” Science. 7/30/1999, Vol. 285 Issue 5428, p673-674.". 
  7. ^ "Tyler, Christopher, “Painters centre one eye in portraits” Nature 392, 877-878 (30 April 1998)". 
  8. ^ Sandra Blakeslee. "In Paintings Eyes, Artists Go Halfway". 
  9. ^ "Tyler, C. W. "Rosetta Stone? Hockney, Falco and the Sources of "Opticality" in Lorenzo Lotto's Husband and Wife." Leonardo, vol. 37 no. 5, 2004, pp. 397-401.". 
  10. ^ Statement by Christopher Tyler. "Leavitt, Ruth. 1976. Artist and Computer. New York: Harmony Books.". 
  11. ^ Referring to Christopher Tyler’s statement in Ruth Leavitt’s Computer and Art, Rudolf Arnheim wrote in his 1987 book, New Essays on the Psychology of Art, that he was influenced here by a striking remark he found in an article by a California computer artist, Christopher William Tyler (5, p. 88). Arnheim notes that Tyler observed that "one of the trends of recent art has been the tendency to operate by selecting from an environment entities that have significance to the artist rather than creating from scratch on a tabula rasa … The instruments which are thought of as tools at the disposal of the artist become part of the environment in which the art is produced.” (p. 127) "New Essays on the Psychology of Art". 
  12. ^ "Tyler, C. W. "Rosetta Stone? Hockney, Falco and the Sources of "Opticality" in Lorenzo Lotto's Husband and Wife." Leonardo, vol. 37 no. 5, 2004, pp. 397-401.". 
  13. ^ "Art and Optics website". 
  14. ^ "Christopher Tyler's Art Investigations". 
  15. ^ "Tyler Lab".