Figure 2: We can consider the human mind as a “Black Box” and simply measure the overall performance: “information in” and “information out”.
Figure 3: Introspection: When our senses provide no information, nothing enters from outside our self, but we can continue to learn through introspection, and act through skill.
Figure 4: Our idea of the world is inevitably incomplete, inaccurate and out of date, like an old school globe.
Figure 5: A diagram showing the accuracy achieved using increasing numbers of bits, from one to five
Figure 6: An image consisting of a thousand (40 x 25) random black and white blocks.
Figure 7: Fading Disc. If you stare fixedly at the central dot for ten seconds or more, the broad grey disc will start to shrink. As it fades you may notice small eye movements revealed by the sudden appearance of bright and dark patches.
Figure 8: Horizontal section of a human right eye, showing the key components. Only the small portion of the image which falls on the Fovea can be seen in high resolution. The rest is blurred.
Figure 9: Eye resolution versus angle. Fine detail can only be resolved at the very centre of our view. The visible detail falls off dramatically with increased viewing angles.
Figure 10: Plot of the rotation of my own eye versus time, when my attention is drawn to a small light ten degrees off to the left.
Figure 11: When we focus our eyes on text, we can only resolve a few letters at any one moment, those away from the centre of our point of gaze are increasingly blurred.
Figure 12: Our point of gaze moves in abrupt jumps when we look around a circle
Figure 13: Horizontal section of the eye.
Figure 14: Find your Blind Spot: Close your right eye. Then with your left eye, gaze intently at the spot on the right. If you adjust your viewing distance to be about twice the width of the image, you can make the rabbit on the left completely disappear, the background will replace it.
Figure 15: The retina of my left eye, showing the small dark central Fovea (the only part that can resolve detail in the scene), the array of blood vessels and the Blind Spot circled on the left where optic nerve exits the eye.
Figure 16: Even dangerous predators were no match for early man’s predictive skills.
Figure 17: Building our inner world. When we perceive something and recognise it, we compare what we sense, with what we expect from our internal model of the thing, and use the difference to update our idea of it. The thicker line indicates that the information rate due to “Comparing” is much greater than that of “Learning”.
Figure 18: A plot of a tiny part of the Mandelbrot set:
Figure 19: This delicate fractal “fern”, (Left, and zoomed in on Right) is the result of a simple mathematical equation repeated many times. Note the self-similarity in the leaf structure.
Figure 20: We need two or more observations to make a prediction.
Figure 21: The Necker Cube: A 3D idea from a 2D image.
Is the O in the centre of a face of the cube, or in the lower left corner of a face? Is the O on a front face or the back? Notice how your mind oscillates between equally probable explanations.
Figure 22: Record running speeds versus event duration. (Male athletes, from 1 second to 6 days!)
Figure 23: Bits per second calculated for a wide range of world record memory contests, plotted versus duration. Note that highest bit rates were achieved for shorter durations and for simpler tasks.
Figure 24: Five images of a creature, showing that the clarity increases the longer we observe it.
The images were created using 128, 512, 3072, 16384, and 65536 bits respectively.
Figure 25: Record number of bits of information memorised during very short exposures. Extrapolating these sets of measured points suggests we can memorise a finite number of bits for nearly zero observation time.
Figure 26: A version of the earlier image of the author, but this time using just 60 bits of information (30 pixels (5x6), each pixel described using 2 bits, so giving 4 brightness levels).
Figure 27: Information rate versus task difficulty plotted for Fitts’ reciprocal tapping task. Task difficulty was determined by the ratio of the target distance (2-16 inches), to the target width.
Information rates associated with sensing and learning.
The world we experience is based almost entirely on our past experiences. Our ability to recognise the present is limited significantly by our sensors, and our ability to learn from the present is further limited to just a few tens of bits per second.
Figure 29: Fold any image of a face as shown, along the centres of the eyes and corners of the mouth. Now you can change the emotion expressed, simply by tilting the image forward and back.
Figure 30: Informed opinions tend to be widely spread, but some opinions become polarised, with “no-man’s land” between.
Figure 31: A simple Necker Cube. Our lifelong experience of 3D structure prejudices us to seeing a cube.
Figure 1: The author wearing his personalised eye tracking spectacles.