Trieste Symposium on Perception and Cognition - 27th Kanizsa Lecture

will take place at the University of Trieste, November 8, 2019, starting at 9.00 am.

Traditionally, the Symposium is open to all perspectives and approaches, has no registration fee, and runs on an informal, relaxed pace.
This year the Kanizsa Lecture will be delivered by prof. Roberto Casati (Institut Jean Nicod, CNRS, France, Paris) on Friday 8 November, starting at 4.00 pm.

The 27th Kanizsa Lecture


Shadows in vision

Roberto Casati

(Director  of the Institut Jean Nicod, Paris)

"Renaissance painters knew perspective, and mastered chiaroscuro. Cast shadows are chiaroscuro in perspective, so why did it take them a century to master the depiction of cast shadows? (Leonardo's Treatise is a fascinating compilation of strategic errors that block the solution.) Although Gestalt psychologists were keen on phenomenal objects, they nevertheless overlooked cast shadows and missed out on the rules presiding their parsing in the visual scene. (I won't even dare mention philosophers, who had shadows under their lens since Plato and could have made a lot of their representational properties. They didn't.) 
Building on common work with Patrick Cavanagh (The visual world of shadows, MIT Press 2019) I will present a view of the computational rules that govern shadow perception, from shadow labeling to ownership to the reconstruction of visual layout. I'll focus in particular on ownership, an interesting case study for the application of gestalt rules across categories of objects. I hope to convey the great heuristic power of shadows for vision science. Shadows may have been neglected or misinterpreted by psychologists, painters and philosophers, but they surely have not been slighted by the visual system, that has been able, in its long evolutionary history, to turn the noise they create into robust knowledge."
Besides the KL the Symposium will include workshops and talks on Friday, as well as a poster session during/after lunch.
If you wish to contribute a presentation, please submit your proposal by electronic mail to (specifying whether you prefer a talk or poster). Each proposal should be submitted as an abstract (250-400 words). Proposal will be evaluated by a scientific committee.
More information about the program will be available on the website: