Home > consciousness, Perception, philosophy > A Deeper Look at Peripheral Vision

A Deeper Look at Peripheral Vision

image

Often, when peripheral vision is being explained, an image like the one on  the right is often used to show how only a small area around our point  of focus is defined in high resolution. The periphery is shown to be blurry.  While this gets the point across, I think that it actually obscures the subtle nature of perception.

If I focus on some part of the image on the left, while it is  true that my visual experience of the other quadrants is diminished, it  is somehow less available experientially rather than degraded visually.  At all times I can clearly tell the difference between the quality of  left image and the right image. If I focus on a part of the right hand image, the unfocused portion does not blur further into a uniform grey, but retains the suggestion of separate fuzzy units.

If peripheral vision were truly a blur, I would also expect that when focusing on the left hand image, the peripheral boxes would look more like the  one on the right, but it doesn’t. I can see that the peripherized blocks of the  left image are not especially blurry. No matter how I squint or unfocus or push both images wayy into the periphery of my sight, I can easily tell that the two images are quite different. I can’t resolve detail, but I can see that there is potentially detail to be resolved. If I look directly at any part of the blurry image on  the right I can easily count the fuzzies when I look at them, even  through they are blurred. By contrast, with the image on the left, I can’t count the  number of blocks or dots that are there even though I can see that they are block-like. There is an attenuation of optical acuity, but not in a way which  diminishes the richness of the visual textures. There is uncertainty but  only in a top-down way. We still have a clear picture of the image as a  whole, but the parts which we aren’t looking at directly are seen as in  a dream – distinct but generic, and psychologically slippery.

What I think this shows that there are two different types of information-related entropy and two different categories of physics – one public and quantitative,  and one private and qualitative or aesthetic. Peripheral vision is not a lossy compression in any aesthetic sense. If perception were really driven by bottom up processing exclusively,  we should be able to reproduce the effect of peripheral vision in an  image literally, but we can’t. The best we can do is present this  focused-in-the-center, blurry-everywhere-else kind of image which suggests peripheral vision figuratively, but the aesthetic quality of the peripheral experience cannot be represented.

I suggest that the capacity to see is more than a detection of optical information, and  it is not a projection of a digital simulation (otherwise we would be  able to produce the experience literally in an image). Seeing is the visual quality of  attention, not a quantity of data. It is not only a functional mechanism  to acquire data, it is more importantly an aesthetic experience.

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  1. PhiGuy110
    April 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    This brings up a concept I’ve long thought about and you articulate well. I call it “cognitive blur.” This is the experience, as you point out, of experiencing our peripheral vision as metaphorically “blurry” when it is, in fact, only attention-ally blurry. In fact, “real” blur we can define as visually attending to an image which has less visual clarity than we intrinsically expect once we focus our attention on it. Peripheral vision is totally different in that we lack INFORMATION about the details of the image that, in theory, could be gained by focusing our attention on it. Cognitive blur is not, inherently, visual in nature at all. I might even be able to tell if an image in my periphery is blurry or not, which would be impossible if our periphery actually “made” images blurry.

    The same thing goes for sound. In a noisy cafe we can tune our attention to a particular stream of auditory information – say what the person across from us is saying – and that doesn’t make the muzak piping in sound like static. Instead we just get the “cognitive blur” of putting some information stream outside our direct attention. Music with a lot of static, however, is precisely the experience, like focusing on a blurred image, of receiving a less clear data stream than our attention anticipates and therefore we perceive the signal as having more “white noise” and less resolution than we otherwise perceive it should. They really are quite different concepts.

    • April 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm

      Exactly, cognitive blur! I am thinking that this concept extends, as you say, to other modes of perception but I think that it is actually a piece to the puzzle of consciousness which is not being considered scientifically yet. I’m thinking of calling aesthetic entropy, in contrast to information entropy, as it does not relate purely to the function of retrieving data but to how directly the data is engaged subjectively. It happens in memory too, and with that actors name on the tip of your tongue. There is an expectation of data which is palpable but may or may not be realized.

      This is an interesting little area to explore I think, as it potentially yields some testable concepts. If it can be proved that perceptual effects exist which cannot be reproduced with known configurations of data, then the whole assumption of information as a neutral object can be questioned (as it should be).

  2. April 26, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    This brings up a concept I’ve long thought about and you articulate well. I call it “cognitive blur.” This is the experience, as you point out, of experiencing our peripheral vision as metaphorically “blurry” when it is, in fact, only attention-ally blurry. In fact, “real” blur we can define as visually attending to an image which has less visual clarity than we intrinsically expect once we focus our attention on it. Peripheral vision is totally different in that we lack INFORMATION about the details of the image that, in theory, could be gained by focusing our attention on it. Cognitive blur is not, inherently, visual in nature at all. I might even be able to tell if an image in my periphery is blurry or not, which would be impossible if our periphery actually “made” images blurry.

    The same thing goes for sound. In a noisy cafe we can tune our attention to a particular stream of auditory information – say what the person across from us is saying – and that doesn’t make the muzak piping in sound like static. Instead we just get the “cognitive blur” of putting some information stream outside our direct attention. Music with a lot of static, however, is precisely the experience, like focusing on a blurred image, of receiving a less clear data stream than our attention anticipates and therefore we perceive the signal as having more “white noise” and less resolution than we otherwise perceive it should. They really are quite different concepts.

  3. May 2, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    If perception were really driven by bottom up processing exclusively, we should be able to reproduce the effect of peripheral vision in an image literally, but we can’t.

    Excuse, but you might want to explore a larger set of color interactions. Quite apparently to me one sure can devise even a way to move a color image off its origin and then reduce its size down as it becomes more difficult to push it towards you side vision and n tuck the image beyond your periphery ( sorta not like having speeding cars go whizzing by) but dangling if you want half way beyond your visual area at the base of neck or all the way to rotate sensitively from the base to top of your head (rather ticklish) – (can be done using double vision effect for splitting two images out of one original). Strangely also, if you just immediately had pulled the image beyond your periphery – if you don’t take to long you could return it back to your side(s) vision The image to use in this manner is here = https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=312138002180575&set=a.312137975513911.70288.306087126118996&type=1&relevant_count=1
    I would suggest folks have been capable of this feat at least 5000 years ago. I took you me a year or so to discover this visual but hey the guide books were not available because some folks did not write about art history much or even write at all.

    • May 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Hmm. I’m not sure what you are saying to do with the image. Stare at it until I get a phospeene copy and then move it off to the side? Stare at it in my peripheral vision? I donno.

      • May 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm

        More complex. This image is better set to sense some of the after – during – images. The gist is to remove the image off its origin using an eccentric eye motion limiting the unit lifts close to the image and circling them around and around the image then when with some physical strain *see ramondi stella* use of staff’s (i used my knees) forcing the image off its origin. Possible on tv monitor – not likely). Also needed was a substance to reduce the pressure in the eye or trance like nature in addition. The Floater Cell in the eye was later visually engaged to remain centered and given a size of appearance as big as any wall you might like too use. When expanded the cell wall of course remains transparent like but on the edges you see very distinct triangular plates sprialing across the cell well emerging on the other side and apparently going around the deteriorated cell emerging again. By the speed of this movement of triangular plates it was easier to determine when to make a physical visual exertion. Once the color image is removed from the origin the image does unfolding abstraction of Ramondi Stella (second orientation)

        and in this perceptual level activity engage your ability when pulling the image back and beyond your peripheral. How this functions is that if turning your gaze back on the original origin of the image of the painting there is a perceivable energy band on that is interweaving beads appearing like mercury and if you go up to and visually strain two interweaving beads (height of bead covers your fingertip) you can see the actual lower structures of the painting mount the bead which explains its refraction capability. But like I said most likely need to paint an actual painting paying close attention to giving height of the colored lines. I was trained by Rogoff and I know how to paint flat. This discovery relies raising the height of the colored lines and the usage of Brown encasing the image the walls need to very light blue or a good grey. Eccentric eye motions, Pulfric effect are also some of the word uses scientifically. My master who did the double or reverse after image also had a painting called Orange Flux (mid to late 60’s or first few years of the seventies), which was the first proof of peripheral pulse involving color at a time when peripheral expectations for colors was nil.

      • May 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm

        I can’t really understand enough of what you are saying to tell whether you are trolling me or not.

      • May 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

        a missing link to an easier image with more visual room to work with on the blue.

      • May 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm

        There are how many color theorists? Cheveral, Rood, Henry, Helmholtz , the weakest link of them all – albers, Rogoff, and the 7th is? Don’t even know who Rogoff is? Try psych 101 text book displaying his Double or reverse after-image. Going to the original “Color Interaction” Booklet by (j. albers) Hal’s double or reverse after-image is located on the cover.3/4ths of the other modules inside were Rogoff’s. Hal’s thesis at Yale is titled ‘Optical Illusion and Vibrational Theory’ 1952 Maybe you had not heard but the Modern Color Theory still Rules when it comes to advancement in RGB. Somebody done it. What they totally screwed up at Yale in 1950’s was establish an understanding of the Nature of the Color Brown. But in the ancient america’s it was had long, long ago. I restumbled on it. As to the Pulfric effect have you name recognition of Dr. Lit?
        https://www.facebook.com/SHRogoff

      • May 3, 2013 at 12:12 am

        Interesting. I haven’t looked into optics in depth or Dr. Lit. What was the ancient understanding of the color Brown that you restumbled on?

      • May 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        Indent and encase the brown around Simultaneous Colors to acquire a whole set of other color interactions. I was stuck in the mode of the first orientation of Ramondi Stella for a year with quite a few vast and intense perceptual levels. In the center of the not normal headdress is an image of my painting going through perceptual phases. Its like saying ‘where is Frodo’ (not hobbits), The Pulfric effect is demonstrated by the volutes (tentacles) going in two opposing directions. It first starts as my design in one direction – a must do). Dr Lit (SIU) could give any scientist a happy feeding of all sorts of math to go with the knowledge. Dr. LIt made a significant visual contribution in WWII preventing the German air force from taking the advantage of shooting down planes at return ratio of 10 to 15 percent by approaching with the moon behind its fighters. Lit came up with red glasses and the tactic no longer worked. Then came helicopter pilots who were prone to wanting to be neatly parking next to their buddies helicopter only consistently landing on top of the machine. Dr. Lit is known for using the Pulfric effect to establish standardized sunglasses which resolved the issue. Dr Lit placed me in front of his study device of a single swinging metradome arm going back and forth (this could get boring), then using a pair of glasses the single arm goes off and moves in two opposing direction. My research victims alerted me to Dr. Lit’s toy (maybe even complaining about getting better paid) 😦 but anyways when the movement occurs, the brain is significantly jarred. In my painting the feel would be similar but the different in maturity more attuned to using mega doses of native American religious substances without the usage of any required.

      • May 4, 2013 at 1:26 am

        Interesting. For some reason makes me think of Dr. John Ott. I used to work for a place that makes full spectrum lights that he designed.

  4. May 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

    type- Spell error. It took me, a year or so,

  5. May 4, 2013 at 2:14 am

    in the late 60’s I always swore by florescent lights called electro lux. Full spectrum is the best. Of late the reveal light bulbs do a fairly good to excellent task. I had a film director at my place doing Cannes Award film on Bruce Goff structures. In the filming they of course had these awkward huge aluminium coated reflectors. I mentioned the lights and initially got a pooh pah response, but as the filming went on he changed his tune account their light recorders indicated I was onto something.

    • May 4, 2013 at 2:23 am

      Looked up Dr. Lot. Are bulbs inclusive of the mercury issue. Been looking for something to replace Reveal bulbs as their effected by the watt reduction phase out. Have been tending to go LED, but they seem a bit off missing some of the red which helps bring out the color of 600 tons of Creek Bed Rocks.

  1. May 4, 2013 at 5:45 am

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