September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Ensemble representations as a basis for rich perceptual experience
Author Affiliations
  • David Whitney
    University of California-Berkeley
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 41. doi:10.1167/17.10.41
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      David Whitney; Ensemble representations as a basis for rich perceptual experience. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):41. doi: 10.1167/17.10.41.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Much of our rich visual experience comes in the form of ensemble representations, the perception of summary statistical information in groups of objects—such as the average size of items, the average emotional expression of faces in a crowd, or the average heading direction of point-light walkers. These ensemble percepts occur over space and time, are robust to outliers, and can occur in the visual periphery. Ensemble representations can even convey unique and emergent social information like the gaze of an audience, the animacy of a scene, or the panic in a crowd, information that is not necessarily available at the level of the individual crowd members. The visual system can make these high-level interpretations of social and emotional content with exposures as brief as 50 ms, thus revealing an extraordinarily efficient process for compressing what would otherwise be an overwhelming amount of information. Much of what is believed to count as rich social, emotional, and cognitive experience actually comes in the form of basic, compulsory, visual summary statistical processes.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017

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