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Ronald Rensink [30]Ronald A. Rensink [30]
  1. Ronald A. Rensink, Four Futures and a History.
    Stephen Few provides a nice overview of the reasons why we should design data visualizations to be effective, and why it’s important to understand human perception when doing so. In fact, he’s done this so well that I can’t add much to his arguments. But I can, however, push the basic message a bit further, out into the times before and after those he discusses. Out into areas that are not as well known, or not really developed, where new opportunities (...)
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  2. Jason Harrison & Ronald A. Rensink, Obscuring Length Changes During Animated Motion.
    In this paper we examine to what extent the lengths of the links in an animated articulated figure can be changed without the viewer being aware of the change. This is investigated in terms of a framework that emphasizes the role of attention in visual perception. We conducted a set of five experiments to establish bounds for the sensitivity to changes in length as a function of several parameters and the amount of attention available. We found that while length changes (...)
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  3. Ronald Rensink, Apparent Length in Preattentive Vision: Evidence for Low Level Grouping.
    Theories of human vision have generally assumed that the features underlying visual search and texture segmentation correspond to simple measurements made at the first stages of visual processing. In this paper, we describe a series of visual search experiments that refute this assumption. Using several variants of the Mueller-Lyer figure, we show that an illusion of length exists in preattentive vision -- search is easy when items contain line segments of equal length, but becomes difficult when these segments are adjusted (...)
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  4. Ronald Rensink, A New Proof of the NP-Completeness of Visual Match.
    A new proof is presented of Tsotsos' result that the VISUAL MATCH problem is NP-complete when no (high-level) constraints are imposed on the search space. Like the proof given by Tsotsos, it is based on the polynomial reduction of the NP-complete problem KNAPSACK to VISUAL MATCH. Tsotsos' proof, however, involves limited-precision real numbers, which introduces an extra degree of complexity to his treatment. The reduction of KNAPSACK to VISUAL MATCH presented here makes no use of limited-precision numbers, leading to a (...)
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  5. Ronald Rensink, An Object Completion Process in Early Vision.
    It has recently been demonstrated that early vision is capable of recovering several properties of the three-dimensional world. We describe a series of visual search experiments showing that such recovery includes a completion process that allows for the interpretation of objects that are partially occluded. Search for easily-detectable line segments is made much more difficult when they can be interpreted as the visible parts of a line that has been occluded by a three-dimensional object. We describe some of the conditions (...)
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  6. Ronald Rensink, Attentional Processing of Geometric Figures.
    Focused attention is needed to perceive change (Rensink et al., 1997; Psychological Science, 8: 368-373) . But how much attentional processing is given to an item? And does this depend on the nature of the task?
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  7. Ronald Rensink, CBR Scene Perception Workshop.
    Studies of eye movements, on memory for scenes, and on visual attention, have for a long time proceeded in a fairly independent way. But in recent years it is becoming apparent that the three disciplines have something to be gained from exchanging ideas: Scene knowledge (and therefore scene memory) originates in eye exploration, but certainly also..
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  8. Ronald Rensink, How Much of a Scene is Seen? The Role of Attention in Scene Perception.
    A striking blindness to changes in real-world scenes can be induced using a variety of techniques (e.g., saccade-, blink-, or flicker-contingent change). The strength and robustness of this phenomenon points towards the involvement of mechanisms central to visual perception. It is proposed here that this induced change blindness can be explained by an..
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  9. Ronald Rensink, Image Flicker is as Good as Saccades in Making Large Scene Changes Invisible.
    Several recent investigations (Grimes, in press; McConkie and Currie, in preparation) report that large changes in images of natural scenes can remain unnoticed if these are made during saccades. We show here that similar massive effects can be obtained without synchronization to saccades. This is done via a "flicker" technique in which an original and an altered image (each of duration 240 ms) are repetitively alternated, with a blank field (duration 27 or 290 ms) between each display. One of four (...)
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  10. Ronald Rensink, Identification of Highlights in Early Vision.
    Methods. Visual search experiments were carried out using simple black and white figures corresponding to shiny objects lit from various directions. These included, for example, depictions of cylinders with highlights positioned at various heights (see figure). Targets and distractors differed only in the arrangement of their constituent regions, allowing them to be distinguished by the position of the highlights on the corresponding objects.
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  11. Ronald Rensink, Influence of Scene-Based Properties on Visual Search.
    The task of visual search is to determine as rapidly as possible whether a target item is present or absent in a display. Rapidly detected items are thought to contain features that correspond to primitive elements in the human visual system. In previous theories, it has been assumed that visual search is based on simple two-dimensional features in the image. However, visual search also has access to another level of representation, one that describes properties in the corresponding three-dimensional scene. Among (...)
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  12. Ronald Rensink, Internal Vs. External Information in Visual Perception.
    One of the more compelling beliefs about vision is that it is based on representations that are coherent and complete, with everything in the visual field described in great detail. However, changes made during a visual disturbance are found to be difficult to see, arguing against the idea that our brains contain a detailed, picture-like representation of the scene. Instead, it is argued here that a more dynamic, "just-in-time" representation is involved, one with deep similarities to the way that users (...)
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  13. Ronald Rensink, Mindsight: Visual Sensing Without Seeing.
    Purpose. To determine whether an observer can have an accurate feeling about the state of a visual stimulus (sensing) without an accompanying visual experience (seeing).
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  14. Ronald Rensink, Obscuring Length Changes During Animated Motion.
    In this paper we examine to what extent the lengths of the links in an animated articulated figure can be changed without the viewer being aware of the change. This is investigated in terms of a framework that emphasizes the role of attention in visual perception. We conducted a set of five experiments to establish bounds for the sen-sitivity to changes in length as a function of several parameters and the amount of attention available. We found that while length changes (...)
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  15. Ronald Rensink, Outline of the Course.
    How traditional human-computer-interaction methodologies augmented with theories and experimental findings from cognitive science address challenges posed by multimodal interaction using vision, haptics, and sound in conventional and immersive computer graphics environments. Attendees learn the theory and practice of multimodal interaction design in a multidisciplinary setting.
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  16. Ronald Rensink, On the Failure to Detect Changes in Scenes Under Flicker Conditions.
    When brief blank fields are placed between alternating displays of an original and a modified scene, a striking form of "change blindness" is induced, where the changes are difficult to see (Rensink, O'Regan, and Clark, 1997). Experiments are presented here examining the dependence of this phenomenon on initial preview and type of transient caused by the blanks. Results support the idea that our representation of the world is a sparse one, coordinated by attentional mechanisms.
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  17. Ronald Rensink, On the Visual Discrimination of Self-Similar Random Textures.
    This work investigates the ability of the human visual system to discriminate self-similar Gaussian random textures. The power spectra of such textures are similar to themselves when rescaled by some factor h > 1. As such, these textures provide a natural domain for testing the hypothesis that texture perception is based on a set of spatial-frequency channels characterized by filters of similar shape.
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  18. Ronald Rensink, Perceptual Invariance of Nonlinear Focus+Context Transformations.
    Focus+Context techniques are commonly used in visualization systems to simultaneously provide both the details and the context of a particular dataset. This paper proposes a new methodology to empirically investigate the effect of various Focus+Context transformations on human perception. This methodology is based on the shaker paradigm, which tests performance for a visual task on an image that is rapidly alternated with a transformed version of itself. An important aspect of this technique is that it can determine two different kinds (...)
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  19. Ronald Rensink, Processing of Shadows at Preattentive Levels.
    Recent studies have shown that several scene-based properties can be determined rapidly and in parallel at preattentive levels, including surface convexity and concavity (Ramachandran, 1988), direction of illumination (Enns & Rensink, 1990), and three-dimensional orientation (Enns & Rensink, 1991). We show that in addition to these properties, preattentive vision is also sensitive to scene structure defined by shadows.
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  20. Ronald Rensink, Preattentive Recovery of Three-Dimensional Orientation From Line Drawings.
    It has generally been assumed that rapid visual search is based on simple features and that spatial relations between features are irrelevant for this task. Seven experiments involving search for line drawings contradict this assumption; a major determinant of search is the presence of line junctions. Arrow- and Y-junctions were detected rapidly in isolation and when they were embedded in drawings of rectangular polyhedra. Search for T-junctions was considerably slower. Drawings containing T-junctions often gave rise to very slow search even (...)
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  21. Ronald Rensink, Rapid Resumption: A New Form of Memory in Visual Search.
    We report on a new visual search task in which observers make highly accurate two-alternative forced-choice responses within 100-400 ms of display onset. This is a striking result, since accurate responding in a difficult search of this kind is usually possible only after at least 500 ms from display onset. The conditions under which such rapid responses are obtained involve brief initial glimpses of a search display interrupted by either a blank screen or a glimpse of a second display. On (...)
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  22. Ronald Rensink, Spatial and Spectral Descriptions of Stationary Gaussian Fractals.
    A general treatment of stationary Gaussian fractals is presented. Relations are established between the fractal properties of an n-dimensional random field and the form of its correlation function and power spectrum. These relations are used to show that the second-order parameter H commonly used to describe fractal texture is insufficient to characterize all fractal aspects of the field. A larger set of measures -- based on the power spectrum -- is shown to provide a more complete description of fractal texture.
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  23. Ronald Rensink, Sensitivity to Three-Dimensional Orientation in Visual Search.
    Previous theories of early vision have assumed that visual search is based on simple two-dimensional aspects of an image, such as the orientation of edges and lines. It is shown here that search can also be based on three-dimensional orientation of objects in the corresponding scene, provided that these objects are simple convex blocks. Direct comparison shows that image-based and scene-based orientation are similar in their ability to facilitate search. These findings support the hypothesis that scene-based properties are represented at (...)
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  24. Ronald Rensink, The Analysis of Resource-Limited Vision Systems.
    This paper explores the ways in which resource limitations influence the nature of perceptual and cognitive processes. A framework is developed that allows early visual processing to be analyzed in terms of these limitations. In this approach, there is no one ``best'' system for any visual process. Rather, a spectrum of systems exists, differing in the particular trade-offs made between performance and resource requirements.
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  25. Ronald Rensink, The Influence of Cast Shadows on Visual Search.
    We show that cast shadows can have a significant influence on the speed of visual search. In particular, we find that search based on the shape of a region is affected when the region is darker than the background and corresponds to a shadow formed by lighting from above. Results support the proposal that an early-level system rapidly identifies regions as shadows and then discounts them, making their shapes more difficult to access. Several constraints used by this system are mapped (...)
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  26. Ronald Rensink, The Influence of Line Relations on Visual Search.
    It has generally been assumed that parallel visual search can only be based on the presence of simple features -- the spatial relations between features do not influence this process. We describe a series of visual search experiments that contradict this assumption. Search for line drawings of opaque polyhedra is greatly influenced by some line relations. In particular, search is rapid for line drawings (i) that have arrow- and Y-junctions corresponding to corners formed from orthogonal surfaces, and (ii) that do..
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  27. Ronald Rensink, The Modeling and Control of Visual Perception.
    Recent developments in vision science have resulted in several major changes in our understanding of human visual perception. For example, attention no longer appears necessary for "visual intelligence"--a large amount of sophisticated processing can be done without it. Scene perception no longer appears to involve static, general-purpose descriptions, but instead may involve dynamic representations whose content depends on the individual and the task. And vision itself no longer appears to be limited to the production of a conscious "picture"--it may also (...)
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  28. Ronald Rensink, Toolbox-Based Routines for MacIntosh Timing and Display.
    Pascal routines are described for performing and testing various timing and display operations on Macintosh computers. Millisecond timing of internal operations is described, as is a method to time inputs more accurately than tick timing. Techniques are also presented for placing arbitrary bit-image displays on the screen within one screen refresh. All routines are based on Toolbox procedures applicable to the entire range of Macintosh computers.
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  29. Ronald Rensink, The Rapid Recovery of Three-Dimensional Structure From Line Drawings.
    A computational theory is developed that explains how line drawings of polyhedral objects can be interpreted rapidly and in parallel at early levels of human vision. The key idea is that a time-limited process can correctly recover much of the three-dimensional structure of these objects when split into concurrent streams, each concerned with a single aspect of scene structure.
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  30. Ronald Rensink, The Stability of Color, Location, and Object Presence in Mental Representations of Natural Scenes.
    Purpose. Although observers easily extract the global meaning of natural scenes, it is often the case that they do not notice or remember all of their individual properties. It appears that some scene properties are more readily coded in mental representations than others. We tested the role of three different object properties - color, location, and presence/absence - in scene representations.
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  31. Ronald Rensink, The World, the Brain, and the Speed of Sight.
    Adelson & Pentland (Chapter 11) use an engaging metaphor to illustrate their position on scene analysis: interpretations are produced by a workshop that employs a set of specialists, each concerned with a single aspect of the scene. The authors argue that it is too expensive to have a supervisor co-ordinate the specialists and that it is too expensive to let them operate independently. They then show that a careful sequencing of the specialists leads to solutions of minimum cost, at least (...)
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  32. Ronald Rensink, Vsearch Color: Full-Color Visual Search Experiments on the MacIntosh II.
    We describe an update to our visual search software for the Macintosh line of computers. The new software, VSearch Color, gives users access to the full-color capabilities of the Macintosh II line. One of the key features of the new software is its ability to treat graphics information separately from color information. This makes it easy to study color independently of form, to design experiments based on isoluminant stimuli, and to incorporate texture segregation, visual identification, number discrimination, adaptation, masking, and (...)
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  33. Ronald A. Rensink, Changes.
    This past decade has seen a great resurgence of interest in the perception of change. Change has, of course, long been recognized as a phenomenon worthy of study, and vision scientists have given their attention to it at various times in the past (for a review, see Rensink, 2002a). But things seem different this time around. This time, there is an emerging belief that instead of being just another visual ability, the perception of change may be something central to our (...)
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  34. Ronald A. Rensink, Ideal Observers, Real Observers, and the Return of Elvis.
    Knill, Kersten, & Mamassian (Chapter 6) provide an interesting discussion of how the Bayesian formulation can be used to help investigate human vision. In their view, computational theories can be based on an ideal observer that uses Bayesian inference to make optimal use of available information. Four factors are important here: the image information used, the output structures estimated, the priors assumed (i.e., knowledge about the structure of the world), and the likelihood function used (i.e., knowledge about the projection of (...)
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  35. Ronald A. Rensink, Object Substitution Without Reentry?
    G. Francis and F. Hermens (2002) used computer simulations to claim that many current models of metacontrast masking can account for the findings of V. Di Lollo, J. T. Enns, and R. A. Rensink (2000). They also claimed that notions of reentrant processing are not necessary because all of V. Di Lollo et al. 's data can be explained by feed-forward models. The authors show that G. Francis and F. Hermens's claims are vitiated by inappropriate modeling of attention and by (...)
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  36. Ronald A. Rensink, On the Applications of Change Blindness.
    An overview is presented of the ways that change blindness has been applied to the study of various issues in perception and cognition. Topics include mechanisms of change perception, allocation of attention, nonconscious perception, and cognitive beliefs. Recent work using change blindness to investigate these topics is surveyed, along with a brief discussion of some of the ways that these approaches may further develop over the next few years.
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  37. Ronald A. Rensink, Research Article.
    It has often been assumed that when we use vision to become aware of an object or event in our surroundings, this must be accompanied by a corresponding visual experience (i.e., seeing). The studies reported here show that this assumption is incorrect. When observers view a sequence of displays alternating between an image of a scene and the same image changed in some way, they often feel (or sense) the change even though they have no visual experience of it. The (...)
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  38. Ronald A. Rensink, Scene Perception.
    Scene Perception is the visual perception of an environment as viewed by an observer at any given time. It includes not only the perception of individual objects, but also such things as their relative locations, and expectations about what other kinds of objects might be encountered. Given that scene perception is so effortless for most observers, it might be thought of as something easy to understand. However, the amount of effort required by a process often bears little relation to its (...)
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  39. Ronald A. Rensink, Seeing Seeing.
    This paper discusses several key issues concerning consciousness and human vision. A brief overview is presented of recent developments in this area, including issues that have been resolved and issues that remain unsettled. Based on this, three Hilbert questions are proposed. These involve three related sets of issues: the kinds of visual experience that exist, the kinds of visual attention that exist, and the ways that these relate to each other.
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  40. Ronald A. Rensink, The Management of Visual Attention in Graphic Displays.
    This chapter presents an overview of several recent developments in vision science, and outlines some of their implications for the management of visual attention in graphic displays. These include ways of sending attention to the right item at the right time, techniques to improve attentional efficiency, and possibilities for offloading some of the processing typically done by attention onto nonattentional mechanisms. In addition it is argued that such techniques not only allow more effective use to be made of visual attention, (...)
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  41. Ronald A. Rensink, The Perception of Correlation in Scatterplots.
    We present a rigorous way to evaluate the visual perception of correlation in scatterplots, based on classical psychophysical methods originally developed for simple properties such as brightness. Although scatterplots are graphically complex, the quantity they convey is relatively simple. As such, it may be possible to assess the perception of correlation in a similar way.
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  42. Ronald A. Rensink (forthcoming). Attention, Consciousness, and Data Display. 2006 Proceedings of the American Statistical Association, Statistical Graphics Section.
    Recent advances in our understanding of visual perception have shown it to be a far more complex and counterintuitive process than previously believed. Several important consequences follow from this. First, the design of an effective statistical graphics system is unlikely to succeed based on intuition alone; instead, it must rely on a more sophisticated, systematic approach. The basic elements of such an approach are outlined here, along with several design principles. An overview is then given of recent advances in our (...)
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  43. Hélène L. Gauchou, Ronald A. Rensink & Sidney Fels (2012). Expression of Nonconscious Knowledge Via Ideomotor Actions. Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):976-982.
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  44. Ronald A. Rensink (2008). Towards a Science of Magic. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12 (9):349-354.
  45. Ronald A. Rensink (2005). Change Blindness. In Laurent Itti, Geraint Rees & John K. Tsotsos (eds.), Neurobiology of Attention. Academic Press. 76--81.
  46. Ronald A. Rensink (2005). Change Blindness: Implications for the Nature of Visual Attention. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (1):16-20.
  47. Daniel J. Simons & Ronald A. Rensink (2005). Change Blindness: Past, Present, and Future. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (1):16-20.
    Change blindness is the striking failure to see large changes that normally would be noticed easily. Over the past decade this phenomenon has greatly contributed to our understanding of attention, perception, and even consciousness. The surprising extent of change blindness explains its broad appeal, but its counterintuitive nature has also engendered confusions about the kinds of inferences that legitimately follow from it. Here we discuss the legitimate and the erroneous inferences that have been drawn, and offer a set of requirements (...)
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  48. Daniel J. Simons & Ronald A. Rensink (2005). Change Blindness, Representations, and Consciousness: Reply to Noe. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (5):219.
  49. Daniel J. Simons & Ronald A. Rensink (2005). Perception Versus Inference. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 9 (1):16-20.
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  50. Ronald A. Rensink (2002). Change Detection. Philosophical Explorations 53:245-277.
    Five aspects of visual change detection are reviewed. The first concerns the concept of _change_ itself, in particular the ways it differs from the related notions of _motion_ and _difference_. The second involves the various methodological approaches that have been developed to study change detection; it is shown that under a variety of conditions observers are often unable to see large changes directly in front of them. Next, it is argued that this "change blindness" indicates that focused attention is needed (...)
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