8. Visual perception

The minor epiphany in 1997 that started me thinking in earnest about a possible answer to the inverse problem was a picture. I was listening to a lecture by David Somers, a visiting postdoc from MIT. I don’t remember the subject, but in the course of the talk, he showed a popular stimulus that his mentor, psychologist Ted Adelson, had created. The picture was an abstract pattern of light and dark areas, similar to others that had been around in some form since the late nineteenth century, showing that regions with the same amount of light coming from them could produce quite different perceptions of brightness. Adelson had published the stimulus in a paper that proposed a model seeking to account for the effect in terms ...

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