Information complexity & optic flow

The Gibsonian ‘Ecological approach to visual perception’ tells us that surfaces or objects afford certain information that can, provided it is perceived by the observer in that way, lead to certain behavioural actions (e.g. sitting on a chair, climbing stairs, driving on a road etc.). Some information sets, such as a chair in a room, are obvious and are somewhat universal: if you are tired and see a bench in the park, it is most likely you will sit down on it. While other information sets can be more complex, such as window fronts in a narrow street: some people will feel like they are in a private zone, while tourists for example, will not hesitate to take a look inside.
Another term that is coined by Gibson is optic flow and relates to motion. Gibson argues that the traditional conceptions about visual sense, based on light and the corresponding sensations of brightness are not elements of perception, and the inputs of the retina are not sensory elements on which the brain operates, because visual perception can not only fail by the lack of stimulation, but also by the lack of stimulus information, giving the basics for visual perception through optical flow: “In homogeneous ambient darkness, vision fails for lack of stimulation. In homogeneous ambient light, vision fails for lack of information, even with adequate stimulation and corresponding sensations.” (Gibson, 1979; pp.54).

To test the theory of information complexity and optic flow, the 3D animations are turned into optic flow animations. Running the animations through an optic flow script allows us to see the pixel movements in relation to the upcoming frame. The videos show the information complexity of stimuli AND the relative motion, revealing the most potential gaze areas of the visual field.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *