Principles of Depth Perception Where Is It

Comprehension of physical objects is based on the way the eyes and brain process visual stimuli, as we discussed in some detail in chapters 3 and 4. In addition to answering what an object is (primarily in the ventral stream), the brain answers where an object is (primarily in the dorsal stream). In addition, we ask questions of a dynamic sort, such as what the thing is doing and how I might interact with it. This is a bit of an oversimplification, as there are additional streams and...

Nativistic Perception and Directed Perception

Over the years that I have taught a course called Cognition and the Visual Arts I have found two aspects of viewing art that were most instructive. The first, nativistic perception (also known as bottom-up processing to cognitive scientists because it begins with basic physical stimuli), deals with the way the eye and brain work in matched synchrony. Each transforms electromagnetic energy into neuro-chemical codes. As pedantic as that phrase might seem, technically speaking it is exactly what...

The Cognitive Blueprint

Like an ever-brachiating network growing exponentially, the human brain became by far the most complicated entity known to man. With more profusely arborized neurons working in parallel synchrony, the computational powers of the human polychrome cave paintings appeared about 17,000 years ago. These early images include the famous sorcerer from Les Trois Fr res and the earliest depictions of animals in Lascaux. A more mature style of cave art started to appear some 15,000 years ago. The...