Visual Perception

Visual Perception

1st Edition - January 1, 1970

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  • Author: Tom Cornsweet
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323148214

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Visual Perception explores fundamental topics underlying the field of visual perception, including the perception of brightness and color, the physics of light, and the optics of the eye. Although the text leans heavily on physical and physiological concepts, explanations of the relevant physics and physiology are considered. This book is organized into 16 chapters and begins with an overview of the relationship between information assimilation and the physiology of the visual system based on data gathered both in physiological and perceptual experiments. More specifically, this text discusses the nature of the human perceptual system in terms of the kinds of information that are assimilated from the world, and how this selection of information is governed by the structure of receptors and the neural circuits that are connected to them. The relationships between symbols and their corresponding physical and physiological variables are also examined. Finally, the book addresses the presence of strong lateral inhibition in the visual system and how it fits the concept of evolution. This book is aimed at undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of their academic backgrounds.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    I. Introduction


    II. The Experiment of Hecht, Schlaer, and Pirenne

    The General Design of the Experiment

    The State of the Subject — Dark Adaptation

    Location of the Test Flash in the Visual Field

    Size of the Test Flash — Spatial Summation

    Duration of the Test Flash — Temporal Summation

    Color of the Test Flash — The Spectral Sensitivity Curve

    The Experiment Itself

    The Interpretation of Results


    III. The Physics of Light

    A Definition of "Seeing"

    Light Sources

    Lenses and Refraction

    The Intensity of an Image

    Depth of Focus

    The Stimulus in the Hecht Experiment

    Collimated Light

    Sources of Imperfection of the Retinal Image

    Measurements of the Real Retinal Image


    IV. Quantal Fluctuations

    Quantal Fluctuations in the Stimulus

    The Relationship between Quantal Fluctuation and the Subject's Variability

    Sources of Subject Variability

    Quantal Fluctuations at Suprathreshold Light Levels


    V. The Action of Light on Rod Pigments

    Changes in Rhodopsin Molecules in the Light and in Darkness

    The Characteristics and Perceptual Correlates of State a

    The Characteristics and Perceptual Correlates of States b, c, and d


    VI. The Excitation of Rods

    The Fundamentals of Neural Activity

    The Excitation of Retinal Structures as a Consequence of the Absorption of Quanta

    Dark Adaptation and Rod Excitation

    The Early Stage of Dark Adaptation

    VII. Cones and Cone Pigment

    Histological Properties of Rods and Cones

    Psychophysical Distinctions between Rods and Cones

    Individual Differences

    The Nature of Cone Pigments

    The Kinetics of Cone Pigments


    VIII. Color Vision I - Discriminations among Wavelength Mixtures

    Color Names




    Color Blindness

    Wavelength Mixture Space

    Color Reproduction for the Dichromat

    The Color Mixture Space of the Trichromat

    A Cure for Color-Blindness


    IX. Color Vision II - Retinal Color Systems

    Possible Trichromatic Mechanisms

    Measurements of the Mechanisms of Human Color Systems

    Microspectrophotometry of the Human Retina

    Classes of Cones in the Retina


    Evaluation of the Assumption That All Absorbed Quanta Produce Identical Effects

    The Stability of Wavelength Mixture Matches


    X. Color Vision III - The Perception of Color

    The Relationship between Perceived Color and the Physical Stimulus

    Differences between Hue, Saturation, and Brightness

    Factors other Than Wavelength That Influence Hue

    Stimulus Generalization

    The Physiological Correlates of Perceived Colors

    Logarithmic Transformations and Approximations to Them

    Application of a Nonlinear Transformation to the Perception of Hue

    Physiological Measures of Wavelength-Dependent Responses

    XI. The Psychophysiology of Brightness - I Spatial Interaction in the Visual System

    Demonstrations that Brightness Is Not a Simple Function of Intensity

    Evidence Concerning the Physiological Nature of Spatial Interaction in the Visual System

    Lateral Inhibition in the Retinas of Mammals

    XII. Psychophysiology of Brightness - II Modulation Transfer Functions

    Modulation Transfer Functions

    Conditions Necessary for Correct Use of the MTF

    Human Visual Modulation Transfer Functions

    Perceptual Phenomena Related to the Transfer Function

    Physiological Implications of the Modulation Transfer Function

    XIII. Brightness and Color Constancy

    Is All This Perception?

    A Physiological Explanation of Brightness Constancy

    The Limits of Brightness Constancy

    Hue Contrast and Hue Constancy

    XIV. Temporal Properties of the Visual Systems


    The Temporal Modulation Transfer Function

    Physiological Correlates of Temporal Events

    XV. Stimulus Generalization

    The Generalization of Visual Shapes

    Physiological Evidence for Mammalian Generalization Mechanisms

    XVI: Speculations on "Higher Processes"

    Why Did Inhibition Evolve?

    "Higher" Processes

    Appendix I Visual Angle

    Appendix II Filter Transmission Versus Density

    Appendix III How to Build an Ophthalmoscope

    Theory of Operation

    Specific Construction Details

    Appendix IV Demonstration of Color Contrast (Colored Shadows)


    Suggested General Readings

    Author Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 492
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1970
  • Published: January 1, 1970
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780323148214

About the Author

Tom Cornsweet

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