Visual hints make you see better

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In games, hints can help you play a game faster or better. Also perception can use hints – often referred to as cues or “previews” – such that it becomes better.  But what aspect of these visual hints does our visual brain preferably use? In a special issue in the journal Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, Aave Hannus and co-authors show that in particular hints about color and orientation (or their combination) improve visual search, while hints about locations in the visual field are ignored. This knowledge can help create better models of how we visually search our environment, images, or in videos. This may be applied to make e.g. computer vision more human-like.

Want to know more? Find the article here.

In the paper, a new conceptual model is presented that describes how a preview (visual hint) modifies the neural population sensitivity. Depicted is a sensitivity space, in which putative neural mechanisms (i.e., neurons) are situated based on their sensitivity. Previews , depending on their content, cause prioritization of certain visual information by shifting the neural population’s sensitivity.

Image credits of icon: Google data center by Google.