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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The utility of image descriptions in the initial stages of vision: a case study of printed text
Author(s): Watt, Roger
Dakin, Steven C
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Keywords: Vision Research
Computational neuroscience
Vision physiology
Issue Date: Feb-2010
Date Deposited: 17-Mar-2009
Citation: Watt R & Dakin SC (2010) The utility of image descriptions in the initial stages of vision: a case study of printed text. British Journal of Psychology, 101 (1), pp. 1-26.;
Abstract: Vision research has made very substantial progress towards understanding how we see. It is one area of psychology where the three-way thrust of behavioural measurements (psychophysics), brain imaging, and computational studies have been combined quite routinely for some years. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate a relatively unusual form of computational modelling which we characterise as involving image descriptions. Image descriptions are statements about structures in images and relationships between structures. Most modelling in vision is either conceived in fairly abstract terms, or is done at the level of images. Neither is entirely satisfactory, and image descriptions are a simple formulation of age-old ideas about a vocabulary of image features that are detected and parameterized from actual digital images. For our example, we use the domain of the visual perception of printed text. This is an area that has been characterized by thorough, robust psychophysical experiments. The fundamental requirements of visual processing in this domain are: grouping of some parts if the image into words; at the same time segmenting words from each other. We show how these are readily understood in terms of our model of image descriptions, and show quantitatively that typographical practice, refined over centuries, is about optimum for the visual system at least as represented by our model. In addition, we show that the same notion of image descriptions could, in principle, support word recognition in certain circumstances.
DOI Link: 10.1348/000712608X379070
Rights: Published in British Journal of Psychology by British Psychological Society.

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