Two Vision Scientists Walked Into A Bar …


No kidding.  This is the gist of the opening remarks in the Preface to a book on visual perception authored by three vision scientists.  Two of the authors were sitting in a bar at Chicago’s airport on their return to the UK from a conference in Florida, presumably ARVO or the VSS.  After agreeing that there really wasn’t a book suitable to the courses they taught to students on visual perception devoid of the usual boredom, they resolved – as one does after a few beers – to write their own.  Copious notes were scribbled on beer mats that day, and had they been kept the book would have been completed sooner.

Beer Mat

A third author subsequently volunteered to cook food for all three for as long as it took to write the book, which only delayed completion of the work.  I gather that the third author was Tom Troscianko, to whom the revised edition that appeared in 2012 is dedicated, and who apparently died of a heart attack in his sleep shortly before the revision was published.  The original two of the trio, Robert Snowden and Peter Thompson, strike me as the type of cheeky partnership one would get in Optometry if Mark Rosenfield and Dave Cook were to share a few beers at O’Hare International Airport.

Basic Vision

I’ve only digested the first few chapters, but it’s already been a delightful read.  Consider this statement from the Introduction:  “Our visual system is not there to faithfully record the image outside, it is there to give us the necessary information for us to behave appropriately.”  Doesn’t this provide an entree into Behavioral Optometry?

The many clever cartoons in the book are all drawn by Joylon Troscianko, Tom’s daughter.  Here is one, as a parody of the people’s conceptualization about dyslexia, that I recall making the rounds in social media.

Toga Party Goat

I have a feeling I’ll be sharing more of the book with you …

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