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Psychologists Decipher Brain’s Clever Autofocus Software

It’s something we all take for granted: our ability to look at an object, near or far, and bring it instantly into focus. The eyes of humans and many animals do this almost instantaneously and with stunning accuracy. Now researchers say they are one step closer to understanding how the brain accomplishes this feat.

In an attempt to resolve the question of how humans and animals might use blur to accurately estimate distance, Geisler and Burge used well-known mathematical equations to create a computer simulation of the human visual system. They presented the computer with digital images of natural scenes similar to what a person might see, such as faces, flowers, or scenery, and observed that although the content of these images varied widely, many features of the images—patterns of sharpness and blurriness and relative amounts of detail—remained the same.

The duo then attempted to mimic how the human visual system might be processing these images by adding a set of filters to their model designed to detect these features. When they blurred the images by systematically changing the focus error in the computer simulation and tested the response of the filters, the researchers found that they could predict the exact amount of focus error by the pattern of response they observed in the feature detectors. The researchers say this provides a potential explanation for how the brains of humans and animals can quickly and accurately determine focus error without guessing and checking. Their research appears online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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I Can see really really really Far Really Good, I can Also pick out A Ninja Squirrel in The Secret of Nihm Tree!   Yet if you were to come up behind me and even get on the sides of me, you could punch me in the side of the face and I would never or barely see it coming. My Peripheral view is ufked. - Dutchy

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Are you a Left or Right brain person?

  • LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS uses logic detail oriented facts rule words and language present and past math and science can comprehend knowing acknowledges order/pattern perception knows object name reality based forms strategies practical safe.
  • RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS uses feeling “big picture” oriented imagination rules symbols and images present and future philosophy & religion can “get it” (i.e. meaning) believes appreciates spatial perception knows object function fantasy based presents possibilities impetuous risk taking.

Jungle Brothers - “Brain”