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Volume: 29 | Article ID: art00002
Capacity limits and how the visual system copes with them
  DOI :  10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2017.14.HVEI-111  Published OnlineJanuary 2017

A visual system cannot process everything with full fidelity, nor, in a given moment, perform all possible visual tasks. Rather, it must lose some information, and prioritize some tasks over others. The human visual system has developed a number of strategies for dealing with its limited capacity. This paper reviews recent evidence for one strategy: encoding the visual input in terms of a rich set of local image statistics, where the local regions grow — and the representation becomes less precise — with distance from fixation. The explanatory power of this proposed encoding scheme has implications for another proposed strategy for dealing with limited capacity: that of selective attention, which gates visual processing so that the visual system momentarily processes some objects, features, or locations at the expense of others. A lossy peripheral encoding offers an alternative explanation for a number of phenomena used to study selective attention. Based on lessons learned from studying peripheral vision, this paper proposes a different characterization of capacity limits as limits on decision complexity. A general-purpose decision process may deal with such limits by "cutting corners" when the task becomes too complicated.

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Ruth Rosenholtz, "Capacity limits and how the visual system copes with themin Proc. IS&T Int’l. Symp. on Electronic Imaging: Human Vision and Electronic Imaging,  2017,  pp 8 - 23,

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