Friday, 4 February 2011

Peripheral Illusion

Have a look at this website:

It’s a wonderful example of the differences between the central and peripheral parts of our vision. The central part is especially sensitive to detail and colour, whilst the periphery is more sensitive to movement and faint light.

The difference reflects the different light-receptor cells that are present in the retina – cones in the centre and rods more peripherally. It’s why in the days of navigating by starlight, sailors were told to look for faint stars out of the corner of their eye.

Most of our waking time is spent using our central vision, such as looking at a computer screen or TV, reading or talking one-to-one. If there’s something peripherally of interest we tend to turn our head to look at it.

In many sporting situations, however, it’s necessary to be able to assimilate a lot of information from the periphery, such as the movement of team mates, even if the main focus is on the opponent directly in front.

This can be learnt, with the right kind of coaching.

David Donner