Dennis M. Levi, OD, PhD

Dennis Levi

Professor of Optometry and Vision Science

School of Optometry



Professor of Neuroscience
Immediate Past Dean, School of Optometry

Research Interests

Pattern vision, abnormal visual development

Our research focuses on the mechanisms of pattern vision, and the influence of abnormal visual development on those mechanisms.

Research in our lab focuses on how we perceive visual forms and patterns, and how form perception is degrade by abnormal visual experience early in life (amblyopia). Specifically, we use psychophysics, computational modeling and brain imaging (fMRI) to study the neural mechanisms of normal pattern vision in humans, and to learn how they are degraded by abnormal visual experience (amblyopia). While amblyopia is known to influence the properties of neurons in cortical area V1 recent work in our laboratory suggests that amblyopia may also result in damage to higher cortical areas.

Selected Publications

Kuai, S-G., Zhang, J-Y., Klein, S.A. Levi, D.M. & Yu, C., Rhythm is essential for perceptual learning of contrast discrimination. Nature Neuroscience, 8, 1497-1499, 2005.

Neri, P., Luu J.Y. & Levi, D.M. Meaningful interactions can enhance visual discrimination of human agents. Nature Neuroscience, 9, 1186-1192, 2006.

Levi, D.M., Song, S. & Pelli, D.G. Amblyopic reading is crowded. Journal of Vision, 7(2):21, 1–17, 2007.

Levi, D. M., Klein, S. A., & Chen, I. What limits performance in the amblyopic visual system: Seeing signals in noise with an amblyopic brain. Journal of Vision, 8(4):1, 1–23, 2008.

Levi, D.M. Crowding-an essential bottleneck for object recognition: A mini-review. Vision Research, 48, 635-654, 2008.

Xiao, L.Q., Zhang, J.Y., Wang, R., Klein, S.A., Levi, D.M. and Yu, C. Complete Transfer of Perceptual Learning across Retinal Locations Enabled by Double Training. Current Biology, 18, 1922-26, 2008.

Li, R.W., Klein, S.A. & Levi, D.M. Prolonged perceptual learning of positional acuity in adult amblyopia: perceptual template retuning dynamics. J Neurosci., 28, 14223-9. 2008

Levi, D.M. & Li, R.W. Improving the performance of the amblyopic visual system. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364, 399-407, 2009.

Levi, D.M. & Carney T. Crowding in Peripheral Vision: Why Bigger Is Better. Current Biology, 1988-93, 2009.

Zhang, J.Y., Zhang, G.L., Xiao, L.Q., Klein, S.A., Levi, D.M. and Yu, C. Rule-based learning explains visual perceptual learning and its specificity and generalization. J. Neurosci., 30, 12323-28, 2010.

Levi, D.M., McKee, S.P. & Movshon, J.A. Visual deficits in anisometropia. Vision Research, 51, 48-57, 2011.

Li, R.W., Ngo, C., Nguyen, J. & Levi, D.M. Video game play induces plasticity in the visual system of adults with amblyopia. PLoS Biology, Aug;9(8):e1001135, 2011.

Ding, J. & Levi, D.M. Recovery of stereopsis through perceptual learning in human adults with abnormal binocular vision. Proc Natl Acad Sci (U S A). 108(37):E733-41, 2011.

Chung, S.T., Li, R.W. & Levi, D.M. Learning to Identify Near-Acuity Letters, either with or without Flankers, Results in Improved Letter Size and Spacing Limits in Adults with Amblyopia. PLoS One. 2012; 7(4):e35829.

Ding, J., Klein, S.A. & Levi, D.M. Binocular combination of phase and contrast explained by a gain-control and gain enhancement model. 2013. Journal of Vision, February 8, 2013 13(2): 13; doi:10.1167/13.2.13.

Ding, J., Klein, S.A. & Levi, D.M. Binocular combination in abnormal binocular vision. Journal of Vision, February 8, 2013 13(2): 14; doi:10.1167/13.2.14

Kuai, S-G., Levi, D.M. & Kourtzi, Z. Learning optimizes decision templates in the human visual cortex. Current Biology, In Press.