The Limits of Visual Resolution in Natural Scene Viewing
When you look at scene, you can see very clearly at the center of vision (the fovea),but your vision gets radically worse as the distance from the center of vision (retinal eccentricity) increases. Therefore, to develop theories of scene perception we must know the limits of visual resolution are across the visual field. For over 100 years, researchers have investigated how visual sensitivity drops off from the fovea to the visual periphery, generally using very simple stimuli and a fixed eye position. However, our research is among the first to investigate these questions using freely viewed natural scene images. We did this with a gaze-contingent multi-resolutional display, and tested a model of retinal eccentricity-dependent contrast sensitivity. This study (Loschky, McConkie, Yang & Miller, in press) provides the first estimate of the limits of visual resolution in free viewing of natural scenes. It provides important limits for theories of scene perception, and a basis for predicting what information in different parts of the visual field should be available to affect scene perception.