The Modeling and Control of Visual Perception
Ronald A. Rensink, Departments of Computer Science and Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC, Canada.

In W. Gray (ed)., Integrated Models of Cognitive Systems (pp. 132-148). New York: Oxford University Press. 2007.   [pdf]


Recent developments in vision science have resulted in several major changes in our understanding of human visual perception. For example, attention no longer appears necessary for "visual intelligence"--a large amount of sophisticated processing can be done without it. Scene perception no longer appears to involve static, general-purpose descriptions, but instead may involve dynamic representations whose content depends on the individual and the task. And vision itself no longer appears to be limited to the production of a conscious "picture"--it may also guide processes outside the conscious awareness of the observer.

This chapter surveys some of these new developments and sketches the potential implications they have for the way that vision is modeled and controlled. Emphasis is placed on the emerging view that visual perception involves the sophisticated co-ordination of several quasi-independent systems, each with its own kind of intelligence. Several consequences of this view are discussed, including new possibilities for human-machine interaction.

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