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Concept: Vision


Non-human primates evaluate food quality based on brightness of red and green shades of color, with red signaling higher energy or greater protein content in fruits and leafs. Despite the strong association between food and other sensory modalities, humans, too, estimate critical food features, such as calorie content, from vision. Previous research primarily focused on the effects of color on taste/flavor identification and intensity judgments. However, whether evaluation of perceived calorie content and arousal in humans are biased by color has received comparatively less attention. In this study we showed that color content of food images predicts arousal and perceived calorie content reported when viewing food even when confounding variables were controlled for. Specifically, arousal positively co-varied with red-brightness, while green-brightness was negatively associated with arousal and perceived calorie content. This result holds for a large array of food comprising of natural food - where color likely predicts calorie content - and of transformed food where, instead, color is poorly diagnostic of energy content. Importantly, this pattern does not emerged with nonfood items. We conclude that in humans visual inspection of food is central to its evaluation and seems to partially engage the same basic system as non-human primates.

Concepts: Human, Eye, Vision, Visual system, Color, Primate, Hominidae, New World monkey


Stereopsis - 3D vision - has become widely used as a model of perception. However, all our knowledge of possible underlying mechanisms comes almost exclusively from vertebrates. While stereopsis has been demonstrated for one invertebrate, the praying mantis, a lack of techniques to probe invertebrate stereopsis has prevented any further progress for three decades. We therefore developed a stereoscopic display system for insects, using miniature 3D glasses to present separate images to each eye, and tested our ability to deliver stereoscopic illusions to praying mantises. We find that while filtering by circular polarization failed due to excessive crosstalk, “anaglyph” filtering by spectral content clearly succeeded in giving the mantis the illusion of 3D depth. We thus definitively demonstrate stereopsis in mantises and also demonstrate that the anaglyph technique can be effectively used to deliver virtual 3D stimuli to insects. This method opens up broad avenues of research into the parallel evolution of stereoscopic computations and possible new algorithms for depth perception.

Concepts: Insect, Vision, Visual perception, Depth perception, Binocular vision, Stereoscopy, Stereopsis, Mantis


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the visual outcome of chronic occupational exposure to a mixture of organic solvents by measuring color discrimination, achromatic contrast sensitivity and visual fields in a group of gas station workers. We tested 25 workers (20 males) and 25 controls with no history of chronic exposure to solvents (10 males). All participants had normal ophthalmologic exams. Subjects had worked in gas stations on an average of 9.6 ± 6.2 years. Color vision was evaluated with the Lanthony D15d and Cambridge Colour Test (CCT). Visual field assessment consisted of white-on-white 24-2 automatic perimetry (Humphrey II-750i). Contrast sensitivity was measured for sinusoidal gratings of 0.2, 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, 5.0, 10.0 and 20.0 cycles per degree (cpd). Results from both groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. The number of errors in the D15d was higher for workers relative to controls (p<0.01). Their CCT color discrimination thresholds were elevated compared to the control group along the protan, deutan and tritan confusion axes (p<0.01), and their ellipse area and ellipticity were higher (p<0.01). Genetic analysis of subjects with very elevated color discrimination thresholds excluded congenital causes for the visual losses. Automated perimetry thresholds showed elevation in the 9°, 15° and 21° of eccentricity (p<0.01) and in MD and PSD indexes (p<0.01). Contrast sensitivity losses were found for all spatial frequencies measured (p<0.01) except for 0.5 cpd. Significant correlation was found between previous working years and deutan axis thresholds (rho = 0.59; p<0.05), indexes of the Lanthony D15d (rho=0.52; p<0.05), perimetry results in the fovea (rho= -0.51; p<0.05) and at 3, 9 and 15 degrees of eccentricity (rho= -0.46; p<0.05). Extensive and diffuse visual changes were found, suggesting that specific occupational limits should be created.

Concepts: Mann–Whitney U, Non-parametric statistics, Vision, Visual perception, Visual system, Ophthalmology, Visual field, Ellipse


Stereopsis is the ability to estimate distance based on the different views seen in the two eyes [1-5]. It is an important model perceptual system in neuroscience and a major area of machine vision. Mammalian, avian, and almost all machine stereo algorithms look for similarities between the luminance-defined images in the two eyes, using a series of computations to produce a map showing how depth varies across the scene [3, 4, 6-14]. Stereopsis has also evolved in at least one invertebrate, the praying mantis [15-17]. Mantis stereopsis is presumed to be simpler than vertebrates' [15, 18], but little is currently known about the underlying computations. Here, we show that mantis stereopsis uses a fundamentally different computational algorithm from vertebrate stereopsis-rather than comparing luminance in the two eyes' images directly, mantis stereopsis looks for regions of the images where luminance is changing. Thus, while there is no evidence that mantis stereopsis works at all with static images, it successfully reveals the distance to a moving target even in complex visual scenes with targets that are perfectly camouflaged against the background in terms of texture. Strikingly, these insects outperform human observers at judging stereoscopic distance when the pattern of luminance in the two eyes does not match. Insect stereopsis has thus evolved to be computationally efficient while being robust to poor image resolution and to discrepancies in the pattern of luminance between the two eyes.

Concepts: Insect, Vision, Depth perception, Binocular vision, Correspondence problem, Stereoscopy, Stereopsis, Autostereogram


Barn owls are effective nocturnal predators. We tested their visual performance at low light levels and determined visual acuity and contrast sensitivity of three barn owls by their behavior at stimulus luminances ranging from photopic to fully scotopic levels (23.5 to 1.5 × 10(-6)). Contrast sensitivity and visual acuity decreased only slightly from photopic to scotopic conditions. Peak grating acuity was at mesopic (4 × 10(-2) cd/m(2)) conditions. Barn owls retained a quarter of their maximal acuity when luminance decreased by 5.5 log units. We argue that the visual system of barn owls is designed to yield as much visual acuity under low light conditions as possible, thereby sacrificing resolution at photopic conditions.

Concepts: Eye, Vision, Book of Optics, Scotopic vision, Purkinje effect


A stereoscope displays 2-D images with binocular disparities (stereograms), which fuse to form a 3-D stereoscopic object. But a stereoscopic object creates a conflict between vergence and accommodation. Also, motion in depth of a stereoscopic object simulated solely from change in target vergence produces anomalous motion parallax and anomalous changes in perspective. We describe a new instrument, which overcomes these problems. We call it the dichoptiscope. It resembles a mirror stereoscope, but instead of stereograms, it displays identical 2-D or 3-D physical objects to each eye. When a pair of the physical, monocular objects is fused, they create a dichoptic object that is visually identical to a real object. There is no conflict between vergence and accommodation, and motion parallax is normal. When the monocular objects move in real depth, the dichoptic object also moves in depth. The instrument allows the experimenter to control independently each of several cues to motion in depth. These cues include changes in the size of the images, changes in the vergence of the eyes, changes in binocular disparity within the moving object, and changes in the relative disparity between the moving object and a stationary object.

Concepts: Eye, Vision, Depth perception, Binocular vision, Stereoscopy, Stereopsis, Autostereogram, Parallax


To examine the prevalence of refractive errors and prevalence and causes of vision loss among preschool and school children in East China.

Concepts: Refraction, Vision, Visual perception, Visual acuity, Ophthalmology, Refractive error, Eye care professional, Pinhole occluder


The ability to estimate the distance of objects from one’s self and from each other is fundamental to a variety of behaviours from grasping objects to navigating. The main cue to distance, stereopsis, relies on the slight offsets between the images derived from our left and right eyes, also termed disparities. Here we ask whether the precision of stereopsis varies with professional experience with precise manual tasks. We measured stereo-acuities of dressmakers and non-dressmakers for both absolute and relative disparities. We used a stereoscope and a computerized test removing monocular cues. We also measured vergence noise and bias using the Nonius line technique. We demonstrate that dressmakers' stereoscopic acuities are better than those of non-dressmakers, for both absolute and relative disparities. In contrast, vergence noise and bias were comparable in the two groups. Two non-exclusive mechanisms may be at the source of the group difference we document: (i) self-selection or the fact that stereo-vision is functionally important to become a dressmaker, and (ii) plasticity, or the fact that training on demanding stereovision tasks improves stereo-acuity.

Concepts: Vision, Depth perception, Binocular vision, Correspondence problem, Stereoscopy, Stereopsis, 3-D film, Autostereogram


The ability to acquire images under low-light conditions is critical for many applications. However, to date, strategies toward improving low-light imaging primarily focus on developing electronic image sensors. Inspired by natural scotopic visual systems, we adopt an all-optical method to significantly improve the overall photosensitivity of imaging systems. Such optical approach is independent of, and can effectively circumvent the physical and material limitations of, the electronics imagers used. We demonstrate an artificial eye inspired by superposition compound eyes and the retinal structure of elephantnose fish. The bioinspired photosensitivity enhancer (BPE) that we have developed enhances the image intensity without consuming power, which is achieved by three-dimensional, omnidirectionally aligned microphotocollectors with parabolic reflective sidewalls. Our work opens up a previously unidentified direction toward achieving high photosensitivity in imaging systems.

Concepts: Optics, Retina, Eye, Vision, Visual perception, Visual system, Depth perception, IMAGE


This study examined the prevalence of co-morbid age-related eye disease and symptoms of depression and anxiety in late life, and the relative roles of visual function and disease in explaining symptoms of depression and anxiety. A community-based sample of 662 individuals aged over 70 years was recruited through the electoral roll. Vision was measured using a battery of tests including high and low contrast visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, motion sensitivity, stereoacuity, Useful Field of View, and visual fields. Depression and anxiety symptoms were measured using the Goldberg scales. The prevalence of self-reported eye disease [cataract, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration (AMD)] in the sample was 43.4%, with 7.7% reporting more than one form of ocular pathology. Of those with no eye disease, 3.7% had clinically significant depressive symptoms. This rate was 6.7% among cataract patients, 4.3% among those with glaucoma, and 10.5% for AMD. Generalized linear models adjusting for demographics, general health, treatment, and disability examined self-reported eye disease and visual function as correlates of depression and anxiety. Depressive symptoms were associated with cataract only, AMD, comorbid eye diseases and reduced low contrast visual acuity. Anxiety was significantly associated with self-reported cataract, and reduced low contrast visual acuity, motion sensitivity and contrast sensitivity. We found no evidence for elevated rates of depressive or anxiety symptoms associated with self-reported glaucoma. The results support previous findings of high rates of depression and anxiety in cataract and AMD, and in addition show that mood and anxiety are associated with objective measures of visual function independently of self-reported eye disease. The findings have implications for the assessment and treatment of mental health in the context of late-life visual impairment.

Concepts: Disease, Retina, Eye, Vision, Visual acuity, Ophthalmology, Mental disorder, Macular degeneration