PDF Vision and Brain: How We Perceive the World

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The relative nearness of the objects has an even stronger influence on grouping than color does. And Vice uses it to distinguish between the images, headlines, descriptions, and other information for each of its stories. The principle of common region is highly related to proximity. It states that when objects are located within the same closed region, we perceive them as being grouped together. Adding borders or other visible barriers is a great way to create a perceived separation between groups of objects—even if they have the same proximity, shape, color, etc.

Vision: Crash Course A&P #18

In the example from Pinterest below, the common region principle is used to separate each pin—including its photo, title, description, contributor, and other details—from all the other pins around it. The principle of continuity states that elements that are arranged on a line or curve are perceived to be more related than elements not on the line or curve. In the image above, for example, the red dots in the curved line seem to be more related to the black dots on the curved line than to the red dots on the straight horizontal line.

Amazon uses continuity to communicate that each of the products below is similar and related to each other. Sprig uses it to explain the three-step process to use their app.


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And Credit Karma uses it to illustrate the benefits that their services provide. The principle of closure states that when we look at a complex arrangement of visual elements, we tend to look for a single, recognizable pattern. In other words, when you see an image that has missing parts, your brain will fill in the blanks and make a complete image so you can still recognize the pattern.

For example, when you look at the image above you most likely see a zebra even though the image is just a collection of black shapes. Your mind fills in the missing information to create a recognizable pattern based on your experience. Twilio uses the focal point principle to draw your eye to their call-to-action button. And keeping these principles top-of-mind will help you keep the user at the center of your product development process.

If you want to learn more about the Gestalt principles of visual perception, we recommend checking out the resources below. To learn how UserTesting can help you understand your customers through on-demand human insight, contact us here. In just two hours, you can capture the critical human insights you need to confidently deliver what your customers want and expect. Sign up to get bi-weekly insights and best practices, and receive your free CX Industry Report. Thank you! Get ready for some great content coming to your inbox from the team at UserTesting!

For example, what do you see when you look at this image?

Gregory (1970) and Top Down Processing Theory

Source: The Inspired Eye. Source: Gizmodo. Source: A Dwarf Named Warren. Source: Creative Beacon. Source: Andy Rutledge.

Visual Perception Theory

Source: Steven Bradley. Source: Smashing Magazine. Source: Eduard Volianskyi. Learn how UserTesting customers have used the platform to gather fast and relevant human insights. View More. Insights for people who create great experiences Join , subscribers and get articles like this every month. At least part of the answer to this question has to do with a close linkage between the motor systems that move our eyes and the sensory systems that process visual information.

Visual Perception | Simply Psychology

When your brain sends a command to your eyes, telling them to move from one place to another, it also sends a copy of that command to your visual cortex. This copy of that motor command is referred to as a corollary discharge. There are at least 2 really good sources of evidence of corollary discharge.

You can do one of the experiments right now on your own visual system. I want you to close one eye, and with your index finger, reach up with your finger and gently press on your lower eyelid. As you do, you will cause your eye to jiggle a little bit as you press on it. As you move your eyeball down a little, the projection of the world shifts up. In the s, American psychology was dominated by B. Skinner and the behaviorist school of thought. One of the tenets of their theoretical approach was that no thought, perception, or learning can take place without involving the body itself.

To test this, a volunteer participated in a somewhat frightening procedure. He agreed to be put on a ventilator while he was injected with drugs that paralyzed his motor system.

Eyes as visual sensors

He needed to be on the ventilator because the muscles that control breathing were paralyzed as well. If the body was needed to control thought and memory, then his thought and memory should have ceased as well until the drugs wore off. We now know very clearly that thought can take place without the muscles being involved.

But something else unexpected happened that the subject reported after the experiment.

As soon as he became paralyzed, he noticed that the world seemed to jump around wildly, up and down and side to side.