Saturday, June 15, 2013

What is visual perception? Why is visual perception such a difficult task to engage in?

          Visual perception is a function of the eyes and brain, therefore what is seen through the eyes the brain interprets. Basically the brain enables one to understand what the eyes see. Visual perception functions as a means to identify objects and allows an individual to navigate in the world (Willingham, 2007). Visual perception allows an individual to judge the shape, size, and brightness of objects and the distance of how close or how far away an object is. Visual perception is a hard function. The main problem that makes visual perception hard is what is called inverse projection problem. Inverse projection problem relates to the way that light falls on the retina (Willingham, 2007). The world and objects in the world are three-dimensional but are projected onto the retina only as two-dimensional. The retina is two-dimensional, therefore shape and orientation indeterminacy is a problem. Another problem is determining an object’s color and brightness, which is referred to light source, reflectance, and shadow indeterminacy. Which refers to the amount of light that hits the retina from an objects depends on the source, the object's reflectance, and if the object is in a shadow or not. This is a problem because the only source of information we have about surface features is the light that falls onto the retina, therefore in different light settings determining color and brightness is difficult (Willingham, 2007). Without the eyes seeing and the brain interpreting what is seen then an individual would not have sight or vision, therefore the eyes and brain work together to enable visual perception.     
Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

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