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"Looking" and "Seeing" in Vision and Other Senses in Man, Animals and Machines

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Zhaoping,  L
Department of Sensory and Sensorimotor Systems, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Zhaoping, L. (2020). "Looking" and "Seeing" in Vision and Other Senses in Man, Animals and Machines. Talk presented at Living Machines Conference 2020: 9. International Conference on Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems (LM 2020). Freiburg, Germany. 2020-07-28 - 2020-07-30.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-8D63-D
Abstract
In human vision, looking orients head and gaze to put attended objects into the central visual field for seeing or scrutiny. It enables attention to select a tiny fraction of sensory input information into the attentional bottleneck. This bottleneck, more severe in lower animals, should also apply to most robots. I will present recent findings in a new framework for understanding vision. This framework views vision as containing encoding, selection, and decoding stages, putting attentional selection (looking) at the center stage. In primates, selection starts in the primary visual cortex (V1), suggesting a massive loss of non-selected information from V1 downstream along the visual pathway. Hence, feedback from downstream visual cortical areas to V1 to aid seeing (decoding), through analysis-by-synthesis, should query for additional information and be mainly directed at the foveal region. Hence, looking and seeing are mainly by the peripheral and central vision, respectively. Non-foveal vision is not only poorer in spatial resolution, but also more susceptible to many illusions (in seeing). In some animals (like rodents), some senses like vision and audition serve the "peripheral" role for "looking" to orient the central "seeing" senses, by (e.g.) whiskers, tentacles, snouts, nose, lips, and tongues, towards the attending object for better scrutiny.