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Where is the light? Bayesian perceptual priors for lighting direction

Stone, J.V., Kerrigan, I. and Porrill, J. (2009) Where is the light? Bayesian perceptual priors for lighting direction. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276 (1663). pp. 1797-1804. ISSN 1471-2954

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Perception of shaded three-dimensional figures is inherently ambiguous, but this ambiguity can be resolved if the brain assumes that figures are lit from a specific direction. Under the Bayesian framework, the visual system assigns a weighting to each possible direction, and these weightings define a prior probability distribution for light-source direction. Here, we describe a non-parametric maximum-likelihood estimation method for finding the prior distribution for lighting direction. Our results suggest that each observer has a distinct prior distribution, with non-zero values in all directions, but with a peak which indicates observers are biased to expect light to come from above left. The implications of these results for estimating general perceptual priors are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2009 The Royal Society. This is an author produced version of a paper published in Proceedings Royal Society (B). Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: perception; Bayes; lighting direction
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: JV stone
Date Deposited: 18 May 2010 15:48
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2014 07:02
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.1635
Status: Published
Publisher: Royal Society
Refereed: Yes
Identification Number: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1635
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10766

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