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visual detail

ken collins kckpaulc at aol.comABCXYZ
Tue Nov 9 01:03:22 EST 1999

>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.

Hi, Matt,

what you describe occurs because, in order to be able to detect and to respond
to a 'single photon', a person must exist in a darkened space, which
constitutes a relatively 'sensory-deprived' 'state', in which the stochastic
outputs of the 'reticular system' augment, resulting in the overall quality of
neural activation becoming relatively-random.

given such, the experience of any low-power stimulus within the
specifically-ordered neural architecture occurs as a 'blaze of light', because
it's the only thing onto which the TD E/I-minimization mechanisms can 'grasp',
so as to achieve their engineered-in functionalities. (the discussion of
'boredom', in AoK, is relevant.)

it's a bit of the same-stuff that underpins the 'startle-response', except
that, in the 'startle-response', the relative-randomness results from the
sudden dissolution of a pre-existing TD E/I-minimized supersystem

cheers, ken (K. P. Collins)

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