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Where is the sun?

Sun, Jennifer and Perona, Pietro (1998) Where is the sun? Nature Neuroscience, 1 (3). pp. 183-184. ISSN 1097-6256. doi:10.1038/630.

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When we interpret a shaded picture as a three-dimensional (3D) scene, our visual system often needs to guess the position of the light source in order to resolve a convex-concave ambiguity. For more than a century, psychologists have known that the visual system assumes that light comes from above and have argued that this assumption is ecologically justified because our everyday light source (the sun) is overhead. Our experiments reveal that people's preferred lighting direction is not directly overhead, but rather shifted to the left, and this preference is reflected in art spanning two millennia. Furthermore, we find a strong correlation between people's handedness and their preferred lighting. We suggest that what counts is not so much where the sun is, but where you like the sun to be.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Perona, Pietro0000-0002-7583-5809
Additional Information:©1998 Nature America. The authors are grateful to Dr. Marianne Tauber for providing the references to the Gestalt literature. Support was provided by the NSF Engineering Reasearch Center for Neuromorphic Systems at Caltech.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Caltech NSF Engineering Reasearch Center for Neuromorphic SystemsUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Psychophysics
Series Name:Scientific Correspondence
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140730-101723189
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:47645
Deposited By: Caroline Murphy
Deposited On:04 Aug 2014 20:42
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:48

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