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Why We See What We Do: An Empirical Theory of Vision Paperback – 1 Nov 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 265 pages
  • Publisher: Sinauer Associates Inc.,U.S. (1 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878937528
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878937523
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.9 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,075,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


This text reviews a broad range of evidence leading to the conclusion that the visual system is not organized to generate a veridical representation of the physical world, but rather a statistical reflection of the visual history of the species and the individual observer. Thus, what humans actually see is a reflexive manifestation of the past rather than a logical analysis of the present. The idea that the images we consciously entertain represent the historical significance of visual stimuli follows from the inability to decipher ambiguous retinal information analytically, and has far-reaching consequences not only for vision but brain function generally. The immediate benefit of this approach is that it provides a framework by which to understand a variety of fundamental visual illusions that are otherwise difficult, if not impossible, to explain.

About the Author

DALE PURVES Duke University Medical Centre. - R. BEAU LOTTO University College London.

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