PROCESSES IN BIOLOGICAL VISION has defined a large and totally new set of performance descriptors applicable to the visual process in all animals. Some of these descriptors provide a new foundation for many of the previously defined empirical descriptors. In the case of vision, the work has provided a major extension to our current understanding.
A major area of visual performance is the ability (primarily if not exclusively in humans) to perceive and interpret the meaning of fine images presented to the foveola of the retina. This facility spans the range from fine detail in naturally occurring scenes through ever more complex pictographs to completely abstract symbols. The methods of reading have evolved along two distinct paths, the perception and interpretation of ever more complex pictographs and the perception and interpretation of totally abstract symbols.
The first path led from cave-wall paintings to hieroglyphics to the complex glyphs of the Far Eastern Languages of today. These glyphs frequently represent complex concepts. The second path led from the cave-wall paintings to hieroglyphics to more simple individual characters. These individual characters did not represent a concept. Only groups of characters (words) represented a concept.
The distinction between complex glyphs and character groups is an important one in understanding how the perceptual,interpretative and cognitive mechanisms of vision operate. This distinction contributes to the organization of the material on this web-site.
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