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Pre-Attentive Processing
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Visual Displays > Pre-Attentive Processing - 1 of 6

Parallel Processing and Pattern Recognition

The visual system processes patterns of light and converts them into useful information. Specialized neurons in the retina respond to specific excitation patterns. Some respond to motion speed, others to motion direction. Others are edge detectors that differentially respond only to very precisely oriented edges. Still others fire continuously--except when stimulated by a particular pattern.

Messages from these cells are transmitted to the brain through two massively parallel processing systems. As this information is received in the visual cortex, it is further analyzed and interpreted in terms of contrast, linear pattern, and image movement. This analysis occurs in a set sequence from cell-to-cell with each cell responsible for analyzing a specific detail within the image pattern.

The brain attempts to make sense of the information received by referencing our prior learning and experience with pattern perception and recognition. The human visual system is an extremely powerful parallel processor and highly complex pattern analyzer. It is closely tied to areas of the brain responsible for recognition, understanding, and recall. Vision is superior to any other sense for certain information conveyance.

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