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2. Seeing: Hacks 13–33

Chapter 2. Seeing: Hacks 13–33

The puzzle that is vision lies in the chasm between the raw sensation gathered by the eye—light landing on our retinas—and our rich perception of color, objects, motion, shape, entire 3D scenes. In this chapter, we’ll fiddle about with some of the ways the brain makes this possible.

We’ll start with an overview of the visual system [Understand Visual Processing], the limits of your vision [See the Limits of Your Vision], and the active nature of visual perception [To See, Act].

There are constraints in vision we usually don’t notice, like the blind spot [Map Your Blind Spot] and the 90 minutes of blindness we experience every day as vision deactivates while our pupils jump around [Glimpse the Gaps in Your Vision]. We’ll have a look at both these and also at some of the shortcuts and tricks visual processing uses to make our lives easier: assuming the sun is overhead [Fool Yourself into Seeing 3D and Objects Move, Lighting Shouldn’t], jumping out of the way of rapidly expanding dark shapes [Explore Your Defense Hardware] (a handy shortcut for faster processing if you need to dodge quickly), and tricks like the use of noisy neurons [Neural Noise Isn’t a Bug; It’s a Feature] to extract signal out of visual noise.


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