Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Started Nov 1, 2014 | Discussions
Detail Man
Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 17,078
Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?
1

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

If the answer is "yes", how have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ? How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

If the answer is "no", what "mechanistically describable" conceptual characterizations surrounding the translation of optical energy (via "visual faculties" - from eyeballs to one's "mind's eyes") may exist ?

Eric Fossum
Eric Fossum Senior Member • Posts: 1,399
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Detail Man wrote:

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

If the answer is "yes", how have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ? How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

If the answer is "no", what "mechanistically describable" conceptual characterizations surrounding the translation of optical energy (via "visual faculties" - from eyeballs to one's "mind's eyes") may exist ?

I think I have asked this question in the past, perhaps several times.  I usually include it in my talks when I mention shot noise.

Anyway, I never see anything like a video-manifestation of shot noise.  And understanding what the brain does to filter out this noise is interesting to contemplate.

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Austinian
Austinian Veteran Member • Posts: 8,536
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Eric Fossum wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

If the answer is "yes", how have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ? How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

If the answer is "no", what "mechanistically describable" conceptual characterizations surrounding the translation of optical energy (via "visual faculties" - from eyeballs to one's "mind's eyes") may exist ?

I think I have asked this question in the past, perhaps several times. I usually include it in my talks when I mention shot noise.

Anyway, I never see anything like a video-manifestation of shot noise. And understanding what the brain does to filter out this noise is interesting to contemplate.

My ignorance of these matters is profound, but I can't help but wonder if the brain might simply average all visual stimuli (and perhaps random noise from the human visual system as well) over a period that could vary according to the intensity of the light; dimmer light having a longer averaging period?

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Detail Man
OP Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 17,078
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Eric Fossum wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

If the answer is "yes", how have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ? How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

If the answer is "no", what "mechanistically describable" conceptual characterizations surrounding the translation of optical energy (via "visual faculties" - from eyeballs to one's "mind's eyes") may exist ?

I think I have asked this question in the past, perhaps several times. I usually include it in my talks when I mention shot noise.

Anyway, I never see anything like a video-manifestation of shot noise. And understanding what the brain does to filter out this noise is interesting to contemplate.

.

Eric Fossum wrote:

These are phenomenological "laws", sort of like "apples fall in a downward direction" and generally do not address underlying principles. So, NOT KNOWN, at least not in the way physicists and engineers like to know things.

"Psychophysics" seems an appropriate label for the phenomenological laws.

Excerpted from: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52258766

.

Indeed. As (in my personal opinion) our minds are more than the mere neural events arising out of relations surrounding organically-based perceptual faculties, and the thought-constructs that we condition arising out of and relating to matters of our pre-ceptions and per-ceptions ...

... could it be that only in the times existing in between such "events of conciousness" - when no electro-chemical neural "signal processing" events (relating to, or arising out of "thoughts") exist whatsoever - can we as beings be said to actually be "aware" (as opposed to "distracted") ?

"Awareness" as potential of mind as differentiated from "consciousness" - where mind's awareness for a time becomes consumed with corporeal stimuli, contemplations and constructs, and possible responses via events. Where "signal" as well as "noise" exist not. The signal/noise ratio at such times would be mathematically undefined (being a case of zero divided by zero).

No-"thing" of interest, or of distraction. Mind existing as potential rather than of "conscious events".

Only within such absence of conscious events can dualistic metaphors (surrounding "desired" and "undesired") cease to embroil our "elements of concern". One example would be the question:

"Have I been experientially humbled by being showered with waves, or pelted with particles ?"

Allan Olesen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,391
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Austinian wrote:

My ignorance of these matters is profound,

Same here.

but I can't help but wonder if the brain might simply average all visual stimuli (and perhaps random noise from the human visual system as well) over a period that could vary according to the intensity of the light; dimmer light having a longer averaging period?

The eye is definitely slower in dim light. You can see this easily by standing in dim light and moving a lamp. The apparent movement of the bright part of the lamp and the non-illuminated part is so much out of sync that it can seem like they are not attached to each other.

And yes, to us ignorants, the most obvious explanation is that the eye needs time to collect a usable amount of signal. But we can't know if this amount is necessary to suppress photon shot noise, to suppress "read noise" or just to get above some sensitivity treshold.

Detail Man
OP Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 17,078
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Allan Olesen wrote:

Austinian wrote:

My ignorance of these matters is profound,

Same here.

but I can't help but wonder if the brain might simply average all visual stimuli (and perhaps random noise from the human visual system as well) over a period that could vary according to the intensity of the light; dimmer light having a longer averaging period?

The eye is definitely slower in dim light. You can see this easily by standing in dim light and moving a lamp. The apparent movement of the bright part of the lamp and the non-illuminated part is so much out of sync that it can seem like they are not attached to each other.

(Additionally), reductions in the intensity of light energy reduce bandwidth of "Contrast Sensitivity":

Source: "The Psychophysics of Artifact Visibility", James Larimer, Ph.D. (2008)

Where "Trolands" are in units of "Candelas":

T = L * P

where:

T is Trolands;

L is Luminance (in unites of cd/mm^2);

P is Eye Pupil Area (in units of mm^2)

And yes, to us ignorants, the most obvious explanation is that the eye needs time to collect a usable amount of signal. But we can't know if this amount is necessary to suppress photon shot noise, to suppress "read noise" or just to get above some sensitivity treshold.

I take it that you are above describing some form of (human perceptual) "readout noise", then ?

bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 62,180
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?
3

Detail Man wrote:

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

If the answer is "yes", how have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ? How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

If the answer is "no", what "mechanistically describable" conceptual characterizations surrounding the translation of optical energy (via "visual faculties" - from eyeballs to one's "mind's eyes") may exist ?

The problem with subjective experimentation on one self is, well, it's subjective and subject to all of the confounding effects which uncontrolled experiments with human beings have. That being said, if I go into a dark place, let my eyes adapt to the dark so I can actually see something and reflect on what I'm seeing, yes, I see shot noise. You have to consciously uncouple the brain's image processing, which is a toughy.

However, the photonic response of the rods and cones is pretty well researched and documented, as is their effective quantum efficiency. based on what is know, the output from the photo-receptors in your eye is very definitely subject to photon shot noise.

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Allan Olesen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,391
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Detail Man wrote:

Allan Olesen wrote:

And yes, to us ignorants, the most obvious explanation is that the eye needs time to collect a usable amount of signal. But we can't know if this amount is necessary to suppress photon shot noise, to suppress "read noise" or just to get above some sensitivity treshold.

I take it that you are above describing some form of (human perceptual) "readout noise", then ?

I was more thinking about some kind of biological phenomena than a perceptual phenomena. I assume that whatever biological process is going on in our eyes to convert light into a signal to the brain, this process will not give the same signal for the same amount of light every time.

Austinian
Austinian Veteran Member • Posts: 8,536
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Allan Olesen wrote:

Austinian wrote:

My ignorance of these matters is profound,

Same here.

but I can't help but wonder if the brain might simply average all visual stimuli (and perhaps random noise from the human visual system as well) over a period that could vary according to the intensity of the light; dimmer light having a longer averaging period?

The eye is definitely slower in dim light. You can see this easily by standing in dim light and moving a lamp. The apparent movement of the bright part of the lamp and the non-illuminated part is so much out of sync that it can seem like they are not attached to each other.

And yes, to us ignorants, the most obvious explanation is that the eye needs time to collect a usable amount of signal. But we can't know if this amount is necessary to suppress photon shot noise, to suppress "read noise" or just to get above some sensitivity treshold.

My guess (and no more than that) would be that the "read noise" (roughly approximated by what we perceive in a totally dark environment) might be so high that perhaps photon shot noise is dealt with by the human visual system almost as an afterthought.

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Detail Man
OP Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 17,078
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Allan Olesen wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

Allan Olesen wrote:

And yes, to us ignorants, the most obvious explanation is that the eye needs time to collect a usable amount of signal. But we can't know if this amount is necessary to suppress photon shot noise, to suppress "read noise" or just to get above some sensitivity treshold.

I take it that you are above describing some form of (human perceptual) "readout noise", then ?

I was more thinking about some kind of biological phenomena than a perceptual phenomena. I assume that whatever biological process is going on in our eyes to convert light into a signal to the brain, this process will not give the same signal for the same amount of light every time.

That seems a reasonably cautious assumption to make (in that nothing indicates that such is false).

"Mind" (in my opinion) being more than merely the conscious perceptions and thoughts that may engage it - perhaps the matter of "perceptual faculty readout noise" is (in itself) a "misnomer" ?

xpatUSA
xpatUSA Forum Pro • Posts: 15,505
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Perhaps an approach is to ask "if we could see it, what would it look like?".

Bearing in mind the extreme sensitivity of the eye, even in near-darkness, perhaps the test is to seek out 'shot noise' right at the lower end of luminance and hence where M. Poisson told us that the SNR would be pretty low, e.g sqrt(1) = 1.

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Detail Man
OP Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 17,078
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

bobn2 wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

If the answer is "yes", how have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ? How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

If the answer is "no", what "mechanistically describable" conceptual characterizations surrounding the translation of optical energy (via "visual faculties" - from eyeballs to one's "mind's eyes") may exist ?

The problem with subjective experimentation on one self is, well, it's subjective and subject to all of the confounding effects which uncontrolled experiments with human beings have.

Indeed.

That being said, if I go into a dark place, let my eyes adapt to the dark so I can actually see something and reflect on what I'm seeing, yes, I see shot noise.

Bob, please then answer the questions:

(1) How have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ?

(2) How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

You have to consciously uncouple the brain's image processing, which is a toughy.

An interesting statement. Do you mean to (somehow) imagine to remove one's "conscious self" from those processes which constitute one's "conscious self" - in a claimed "objectivity" ?

However, the photonic response of the rods and cones is pretty well researched and documented, as is their effective quantum efficiency. based on what is know, the output from the photo-receptors in your eye is very definitely subject to photon shot noise.

Do the scientific findings you speak of relate to the electrical monitoring of physical neural pathways esisting between the eyes and the (final) "pre-optic" areas of the organic brain ?

Can any such electrical monitorings describe what the "mind's eyes" actually "make" of all that ?

bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 62,180
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Detail Man wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

If the answer is "yes", how have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ? How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

If the answer is "no", what "mechanistically describable" conceptual characterizations surrounding the translation of optical energy (via "visual faculties" - from eyeballs to one's "mind's eyes") may exist ?

The problem with subjective experimentation on one self is, well, it's subjective and subject to all of the confounding effects which uncontrolled experiments with human beings have.

Indeed.

That being said, if I go into a dark place, let my eyes adapt to the dark so I can actually see something and reflect on what I'm seeing, yes, I see shot noise.

Bob, please then answer the questions:

(1) How have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ?

What I've seen is a subjective effect in my own vision in low light that looks remarkably like shot noise to me. Really, i can't go further than that.

(2) How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

One couldn't - that is the problem with all such subjective 'experiments' (like for instance the experiment to 'prove' that the eye has 16 stops of static DR which was a recent point of contention)

You have to consciously uncouple the brain's image processing, which is a toughy.

An interesting statement. Do you mean to (somehow) imagine to remove one's "conscious self" from those processes which constitute one's "conscious self" - in a claimed "objectivity" ?

Not really. I find one can, if one wants, look at what you get from your vision in a number of different ways. For instance, your peripheral vision has different properties to the centre of your cornea. Mostly you don't see that. If you are careful to fix your vision on one spot, and then contemplate what you are actually seeing at the periphery, you can get the brain to let you have that information direct. Similarly, if you go in the darkened room and concentrate not on what is the scene that you are seeing, but what is the rendering of that scene, you can convince your brain to provide that informations. Of course, it could very easily be subject to expectation effect.

However, the photonic response of the rods and cones is pretty well researched and documented, as is their effective quantum efficiency. based on what is know, the output from the photo-receptors in your eye is very definitely subject to photon shot noise.

Do the scientific findings you speak of relate to the electrical monitoring of physical neural pathways esisting between the eyes and the (final) "pre-optic" areas of the organic brain ?

Yes

Can any such electrical monitorings describe what the "mind's eyes" actually "make" of all that ?

No.

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Detail Man
OP Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 17,078
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

xpatUSA wrote:

Perhaps an approach is to ask "if we could see it, what would it look like?".

Do we not in essence begin with (and rely completely upon) the existence of "conscious events" ? If so, it seems to me that the question of "if we could see it" is thus not answerable.

.

I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.

- Max Planck

.

The material world has only been constructed at the price of taking the self, that is, the mind, out of it, removing it; mind is not part of it; obviously, therefore, it can neither act on it nor be acted on by any of its parts. ...

... Consciousness is never experienced in the plural, only in the singular.” “... consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown” … “in the same way Gaurisankar and Mt. Everest turned out to the same peak seen from different valleys.

- Erwin Schroedinger

.

We have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

- Werner Heisenberg

.

Bearing in mind the extreme sensitivity of the eye, even in near-darkness, perhaps the test is to seek out 'shot noise' right at the lower end of luminance and hence where M. Poisson told us that the SNR would be pretty low, e.g sqrt(1) = 1.

An interesting subject (surrounding behaviors at the lower thresholds of visual perception), indeed.

.

The minimum number of photons required to produce a visual effect was first successfully determined by Hecht, Schlaer and Pirenne in a landmark experiment (Hecht et al., 1942). Human subjects were allowed to stay in the dark for 30 minutes to have optimal visual sensitivity. The stimulus was presented 20 degrees to the left of the point of focus so that the light would fall on the region of the retina with the highest concentration of rods. The stimulus was a circle of red light with a diameter of 10 minutes (1 minute=1/60th of a degree). The subjects were asked whether they had seen a flash. The light was gradually reduced in intensity until the subjects could only guess the answer. It was found that between 54 and 148 photons were required in order to elicit visual experience. After corrections for corneal reflection (4%), ocular media absorption (50%) and photons passed through retina (80%), only 5 to 14 photons were actually absorbed by the retinal rods. The small number of photons in comparison with the large number of rods (500) involved makes it very unlikely that any rod will take up more than one photon. Therefore, one photon must be absorbed by each of 5 to 14 rods in the retina to produce a visual effect.

From: http://webvision.med.utah.edu/book/part-v-phototransduction-in-rods-and-cones/phototransduction-in-rods-and-cones/

.

Hecht et al. found that their observers could detect a small, brief, flash of wavelength 510 nm 60 percent of the time when it contained around 90 quanta. As we noted earlier, some of those 90 quanta will be reflected by the cornea (approximately three), and only about one-half of the remaining 87 quanta will actually reach the rods. Not all of the approximately 44 quanta reaching the rods will be absorbed (we rounded up because you can’t have a fraction of a quantum). Some will fall between the cracks (i.e., some quanta will land in the spaces between the rods), and not all of the quanta entering rods will be absorbed. Hecht et al. estimated that no more than 20 percent of the quanta landing on the retina will be absorbed. Under these assumptions, their observer could detect a flash when just nine quanta were absorbed! Recall that the flash covered a diameter of ten minutes of visual angle on the retina (and thus several hundred rods), so, Hecht et al. concluded that their observer detected the stimulus when about nine rods in the area of the flash each absorbed a single quantum! Although some of their assumptions have been challenged, their main conclusion, that a single quantum can activate a rod, remains one of the fundamental discoveries about the limits of human vision.

Interestingly, it appears that cones are also able to capture single photons; however, their electrical responses are weak and noisy.

From: http://sites.sinauer.com/wolfe3e/chap2/quantaF.htm

.

Evidently, those who have the impression that they can in some way perceive "photon shot noise" are describing perceptual events that would appear to exist relatively near what appear to be minimal thresholds of visibility. I wonder how one would claim to "know" that what they perceive truly has "Poissonian" (approaching Gaussian in larger count-numbers) characteristics ?

It seems that perhaps there exist living creatures who might well "know" better than ourselves:

Photoreceptor cells and sight in general have very ancient ancestry, dating back to over 540 million years ago. ...

... The human visual system limits sensitivity to a few tens of photons even under ideal conditions, in contrast to many nocturnal animals that can detect single photons. ...

... Having a greater density of photoreceptor cells, particularly rods, helps explain the greatly enhanced night vision of some diurnal animals and nocturnal animals like owls, cats, geckos, and snakes. Many bats, snakes, and lizards have rods but no cones at all, while others have only a few cones. These rods have become highly specialized, including a pigment molecule called rhodopsin that is specifically sensitive to red light. They are also very sensitive to infrared radiation, and thus have a greater spectral range than humans. Further, many nocturnal animals such as cats have a feature called the tapetum that amplifies the amount of light reaching the retina, thereby increasing their intensity range. The tapetum is a mirror-like membrane that reflects light that has already passed through the retina back through the retina a second time, giving the light another chance to strike the light-sensitive rods. Whatever is not absorbed passes out of the eye through the pupil, explaining the glowing eyes of nocturnal animals. Just recently it was discovered that nocturnal animals also have an inverted structure nuclei of rods, which act as collecting lenses that help focus light and prevent scattering.

From: http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/winter-2010/the-quest-for-superhuman-vision-augmenting-our-most-valuable-sense

Detail Man
OP Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 17,078
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

bobn2 wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

Detail Man wrote:

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

If the answer is "yes", how have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ? How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

If the answer is "no", what "mechanistically describable" conceptual characterizations surrounding the translation of optical energy (via "visual faculties" - from eyeballs to one's "mind's eyes") may exist ?

The problem with subjective experimentation on one self is, well, it's subjective and subject to all of the confounding effects which uncontrolled experiments with human beings have.

Indeed.

That being said, if I go into a dark place, let my eyes adapt to the dark so I can actually see something and reflect on what I'm seeing, yes, I see shot noise.

Bob, please then answer the questions:

(1) How have you convinced yourself that what you are perceiving is in actuality a result of quantum properties of electromagnetic energy in the range of (by human beings) "visible wavelengths" ?

What I've seen is a subjective effect in my own vision in low light that looks remarkably like shot noise to me. Really, i can't go further than that.

(2) How would or could one actually "prove" such a beholding to self and/or others ?

One couldn't - that is the problem with all such subjective 'experiments' (like for instance the experiment to 'prove' that the eye has 16 stops of static DR which was a recent point of contention)

You have to consciously uncouple the brain's image processing, which is a toughy.

An interesting statement. Do you mean to (somehow) imagine to remove one's "conscious self" from those processes which constitute one's "conscious self" - in a claimed "objectivity" ?

Not really. I find one can, if one wants, look at what you get from your vision in a number of different ways. For instance, your peripheral vision has different properties to the centre of your cornea. Mostly you don't see that.

If you are careful to fix your vision on one spot, and then contemplate what you are actually seeing at the periphery, you can get the brain to let you have that information direct.

That's an interesting idea. What more precisely do you mean when using the term "contemplate" ?

Similarly, if you go in the darkened room and concentrate not on what is the scene that you are seeing, but what is the rendering of that scene, you can convince your brain to provide that informations. Of course, it could very easily be subject to expectation effect.

How would a "rendering of the scene that you are seeing" as you describe it be tangibly differentiated from "the scene that you are seeing" ?

However, the photonic response of the rods and cones is pretty well researched and documented, as is their effective quantum efficiency. based on what is know, the output from the photo-receptors in your eye is very definitely subject to photon shot noise.

Do the scientific findings you speak of relate to the electrical monitoring of physical neural pathways esisting between the eyes and the (final) "pre-optic" areas of the organic brain ?

Yes

Can any such electrical monitorings describe what the "mind's eyes" actually "make" of all that ?

No.

bobn2
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 62,180
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Detail Man wrote:

If you are careful to fix your vision on one spot, and then contemplate what you are actually seeing at the periphery, you can get the brain to let you have that information direct.

That's an interesting idea. What more precisely do you mean when using the term "contemplate" ?

It's the most descriptive term I can think of for what is essentially an internal mental process. I know I can think about what the scene directly looks like, rather than the world view it's portraying and I can see it. One way of doing it, is to focus on something straight ahead and then ask yourself questions about something you can see in your peripheral vision, but not let yourself move your eyes to see it. Peripheral vision is definitely a good place to start, I found.

Similarly, if you go in the darkened room and concentrate not on what is the scene that you are seeing, but what is the rendering of that scene, you can convince your brain to provide that informations. Of course, it could very easily be subject to expectation effect.

How would a "rendering of the scene that you are seeing" as you describe it be tangibly differentiated from "the scene that you are seeing" ?

You see the shot noise, for one thing. You see not much detail, for another, you see not much colour (except in the shot noise). But, as I see, it could easily be expectation effect. No do I know if everyone can do this, or only some people.

However, the photonic response of the rods and cones is pretty well researched and documented, as is their effective quantum efficiency. based on what is know, the output from the photo-receptors in your eye is very definitely subject to photon shot noise.

Do the scientific findings you speak of relate to the electrical monitoring of physical neural pathways esisting between the eyes and the (final) "pre-optic" areas of the organic brain ?

Yes

Can any such electrical monitorings describe what the "mind's eyes" actually "make" of all that ?

No.

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 6,669
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

Detail Man wrote:

I do not mean "see photon shot noise" in representations of the world made by imaging devices.

I do mean "see photon shot noise" utilizing one's very own eyes in the physical world around us.

Great question.

I think the answer is that our visual system is designed to reject photon shot noise in much the same way that it rejects object color changes caused by tinted lighting -- or interpolates over the eye's blind spot. In other words, we certainly see it, but process to remove it from our perception.

Actually, to me this is one of the biggest problems with the digital imaging community: photography (and vision) isn't really about recording light, but about constructing a model of the scene. There is very little "survival value" to perception of statistical variations in lighting, so we generally don't perceive it. However, distinguishing between a tasty kind of fruit and a posionous one with a slightly different hue -- even when the lighting has changed so that the poisonous one has the same color as the tasty kind has in normal daylight -- well, that has obvious survival value. In fact, recognizing that an object has a continuous surface despite the fact that the photons that reveal it to us are intermittent (due to photon shot noise) gives survival value to not perceiving photo shot noise.

In extremely dim lighting the flaws in our perceptive processing do occasionally reveal artifacts that I suspect are photon shot noise overpowering our ability to make a good model. For example, I've often noticed that my perception of surfaces as continuous is often disrupted in very dim light, e.g., a solid wall will sometimes appear to be several disjoint pieces in very dim light.

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Mark H
Mark H Veteran Member • Posts: 3,782
Dark noise - not shot noise...

bobn2 wrote:

You see the shot noise, for one thing. You see not much detail, for another, you see not much colour (except in the shot noise).

That is almost certainly not 'shot noise'.

Far, far, more likely it is just dark/read noise (something entirely different to shot noise).

But, as I see, it could easily be expectation effect.

I think so.

No[r] do I know if everyone can do this, or only some people.

Some people see aliens, ghosts, and hear voices too.

Detail Man
OP Detail Man Forum Pro • Posts: 17,078
Re: Dark noise - not shot noise...

Mark H wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

You see the shot noise, for one thing. You see not much detail, for another, you see not much colour (except in the shot noise).

That is almost certainly not 'shot noise'.

Far, far, more likely it is just dark/read noise (something entirely different to shot noise).

Care to elaborate on the nature and form of "dark" and "read" noises in human visual perception ?

But, as I see, it could easily be expectation effect.

I think so.

No[r] do I know if everyone can do this, or only some people.

Some people see aliens, ghosts, and hear voices too.

I see dead people. Only problem is, they keep coming back for more ...

Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 13,914
Re: Can Your Eyes "See" Photon Shot Noise ?

The only time in my life where I was regularly exposed to near total darkness was back in my old darkroom, film photography days.

I’d usually be shooting Kodak Tri-X, at ASA 400, and so I’d be sure the room was quite dark when I was loading the exposed film in the developing tank reel. For certain sizes of film, loading the tank was not easy, and it would often take me a considerable amount of time to carefully load the film adequately.

The only source of stray light was the crack under the door; the adjoining room was quite dark, but after a long period of adjustment, I could see light coming from beneath it, which I’d block with a towel. Even after this, I still would see occasional flashes of dim light from this area if the towel wasn’t completely blocking it — but not a continuous light glow.

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