A statistical explanation of visual space.
The subjective visual space perceived by humans does not reflect a simple transformation of objective physical space; rather, perceived space has an idiosyncratic relationship with the real world. To date, there is no consensus about either the genesis of perceived visual space or the implications of its peculiar characteristics for visually guided behavior. Here we used laser range scanning to measure the actual distances from the image plane of all unoccluded points in a series of natural scenes. We then asked whether the differences between real and apparent distances could be explained by the statistical relationship of scene geometry and the observer. We were able to predict perceived distances in a variety of circumstances from the probability distribution of physical distances. This finding lends support to the idea that the characteristics of human visual space are determined probabilistically.
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