Re: Reading Images

Craig, Jacqueline (JCraig@NENTMCS1.TELECOM.COM.AU)
Fri, 5 Jan 1996 09:55:00 EST

I know this is diverging from the origingal point somewhat, but I couldn't

>Whoa, Bob! I don't know about your cats, but mine certainly know a bird
>is a bird is a bird whether its on the windowsill or the television.
>One of my cats even tries to hunt animated birds when displayed on a
>hi-res computer. Can't say what dogs see though.
>Happy New Year!


I've also seen my cats 'hunt' birds and mice on tv, but I'm not sure that
they actually realise that what they are patting with their paw is a bird or
a mouse. I believe that cats (I'm not sure about dogs) respond to certain
types of movements (sudden, jerky) more than to what is actually doing the
moving. That is, if you pull a piece of string slowly and steadily, a cat
may lose interest. But if you pull it in fits and starts and zig-zag all
over, they suddenly get very interested indeed.

Now back to a more relevant topic!

>Let me put it this way; if you had never seen the English alphabets before
>in your life and you were confronted with it for the first time. What would
>you see? Would you see the shapes of each individual letter? or could you
>only see it (and identify it as the letter "A") if you had been taught that
>this is the letter "a"- apple begins with the letter.....

I think that if I were a literate person in another language, I would
certainly recognise the English alphabet as an alphabet even if I didn't
know what the letters represented. Certainly, I can recognise letters in
the Cyrillic and Arabic alphabets even though I have no idea what sounds
they correspond to.

However, if I came from a culture that had no history of writing, then what
I would see when confronted with the English alphabet is much more complex!
I don't know if an individual in that situation would be able to discern
individual letters or not, or if they could, what they would mean to them.
Pretty lines I suppose.

However, I don't think that photographs and alphabets are really comparable
things, because one is based on vision and perspective, things that humans
use every day; while the other depends heavily on a specialised knowlege
that takes a long time to learn and is not necessarily linked to vision.