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Michael L. Mack, Aude Oliva; The perceptual dimensions of visual simplicity. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):719. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/4.8.719.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The visual simplicity of an image (e.g. a real world scene or a pattern of blocks) is a characteristic we seem to quickly extract. This ability begs the question of which perceptual dimensions observers may use to quickly organize some pattern as a whole. In this work, we aim to propose an analytic definition of visual simplicity (and its counterpart, visual complexity) and test its relevance for perceptual organization. Simplicity is a “complex” perceptual dimension involving a set of perceptual properties (e.g. quantity of objects, symmetry, density). The current model focuses on implementing algorithms of these perceptual properties, and evaluating the visual simplicity of patterns by comparing a model's judgments of simplicity with those of human subjects. The results suggest that symmetry (i.e., the invariance of a pattern under a group of transformations), and lacunarity (i.e., the degree of spatial homogeneity and segregation of objects at different scales), are the most important properties underlying an analytic definition of simplicity.
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