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visual detail

Matt Jones jonesmat at ohsu.edu
Mon Nov 8 13:49:21 EST 1999


In article <38260B37.C0491951 at wins.uva.nl> daan, daanBACHvdb at wins.uva.nl
writes:
>Now my question is - because I cannot find anything about it - does
>anyone know wether something like that also exists for detail (ie
>microscopic features)? In other words: how is detail preserved in the
>afferent visual pathway?

This is a great question. I don't know the answer, but here's a cute
little factoid about the extent to which detail is actually preserved:

Photoreceptors in the eye can respond to a single photon. It turns out
that in psychophysical experiments on humans,  subjects can make
behavioural decisions based on whether or not a single photon was
detected. Thus, however it happens, detail is at least partially
represented at the highest levels of brain function with a resolution
that -can- approach detection of a single photon.  That also implies that
all the processing steps downstream of photon detection don't necessarily
add any extra noise, which is practically an engineering miracle.

Cheers,

Matt




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