Chapter 6


Human Vision

Why is it possible that an editor combines two different shots and a viewer regards them as being part of the same situation?

We take in different sections of our surroundings by continuously scanning them with small and rapid eye movements. Our natural process of vision therefore delivers differing separate impressions to our brain as well. Depending on what is happening and what is of interest to us, we collect information that our brain pieces together to an overall impression.

Over the last 50 years a lot of research into human vision has been carried out. Eye movements of subjects looking at pictures were recorded in order to understand how new images are perceived. It was discovered that there is already an enormous number of eye movements during the first two seconds of somebody watching an image.
Between these different glances, the refraction of the lens of the eyes is constantly being adapted, so that even the smallest detail can be distinguished.

Because our perception is not only subject to physiological principles, but also to personal differences and learning processes, scientific research into the foundations of perceptual psychology was done as early as the start of the 20th century.

In the 1920s the Berlin School of Gestalt theorists (Wolfgang Köhler, Kurt Koffka and Max Wertheimer) conducted experiments on how images and their details are perceived. They summarized their results in what they called the ‘Gestalt law’. ‘Gestalt’ is German for ‘figure’.