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Looking for Image Statistics: Active Vision With Avatars in a Naturalistic Virtual Environment

Straub, Dominik ; Rothkopf, Constantin A. (2022):
Looking for Image Statistics: Active Vision With Avatars in a Naturalistic Virtual Environment. (Publisher's Version)
In: Frontiers in Psychology, 12, Frontiers, e-ISSN 1664-1078,
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00020847,
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Item Type: Article
Origin: Secondary publication via sponsored Golden Open Access
Status: Publisher's Version
Title: Looking for Image Statistics: Active Vision With Avatars in a Naturalistic Virtual Environment
Language: English
Abstract:

The efficient coding hypothesis posits that sensory systems are tuned to the regularities of their natural input. The statistics of natural image databases have been the topic of many studies, which have revealed biases in the distribution of orientations that are related to neural representations as well as behavior in psychophysical tasks. However, commonly used natural image databases contain images taken with a camera with a planar image sensor and limited field of view. Thus, these images do not incorporate the physical properties of the visual system and its active use reflecting body and eye movements. Here, we investigate quantitatively, whether the active use of the visual system influences image statistics across the visual field by simulating visual behaviors in an avatar in a naturalistic virtual environment. Images with a field of view of 120◦ were generated during exploration of a virtual forest environment both for a human and cat avatar. The physical properties of the visual system were taken into account by projecting the images onto idealized retinas according to models of the eyes’ geometrical optics. Crucially, different active gaze behaviors were simulated to obtain image ensembles that allow investigating the consequences of active visual behaviors on the statistics of the input to the visual system. In the central visual field, the statistics of the virtual images matched photographic images regarding their power spectra and a bias in edge orientations toward cardinal directions. At larger eccentricities, the cardinal bias was superimposed with a gradually increasing radial bias. The strength of this effect depends on the active visual behavior and the physical properties of the eye. There were also significant differences between the upper and lower visual field, which became stronger depending on how the environment was actively sampled. Taken together, the results show that quantitatively relating natural image statistics to neural representations and psychophysical behavior requires not only to take the structure of the environment into account, but also the physical properties of the visual system, and its active use in behavior.

Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Psychology
Journal volume: 12
Publisher: Frontiers
Collation: 15 Seiten
Classification DDC: 100 Philosophie und Psychologie > 150 Psychologie
Divisions: 03 Department of Human Sciences > Institute for Psychology
03 Department of Human Sciences > Institute for Psychology > Psychology of Information Processing
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 11:24
Last Modified: 03 May 2022 11:24
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00020847
Corresponding Links:
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-208472
Additional Information:

Keywords: visual perception, efficient coding, natural image statistics, virtual environments, virtual agents, active vision

URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/20847
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