Why is a picture worth a thousand words? Why is a simple line drawing sketch so compelling? Photographs, paintings, and other forms of fine art excel at creating perceptual and emotional experiences. During my doctoral studies at UC Berkeley, I investigated the interplay between visual perception and pictures-- an understanding of which can improve the design of computer graphics, information visualization, and visual user interfaces.

One intriguing paradox involves picture viewing position relative to its original camera position, or Center of Projection (CoP). One can view a photograph from many positions and it looks undistorted, despite distorted projections onto our retinas. Yet wide-angle photos often look distorted on the sides, even if one views them from the CoP. Our work demonstrated that the paradox can be explained by the brain's use of available cues to the orientation of the picture surface.


Scientists Uncover Why Picture Perception WorksScience Daily News, September 21, 2005.

Vishwanath, D, AR Girshick, MS Banks. Why pictures look right when viewed from the wrong place. Nature Neuroscience, 8(10), 1401-10. (2005) [PDF]

Girshick, AR. The psychology of art and the evolution of the conscious brain by Robert L. Solso (MIT Press). Pattern Analysis & Applications, 8(3), 256-7. Invited book review (2005)

Boer, ER, AR Girshick, T Yamamura, N Kuge. Experiencing the same road twice: A driver-centered comparison between simulation and reality. Proc. Driving Simulation Conference, 33-55. (2000) [PDF]

Girshick, AR, MS Banks. Pictorial invariance and the pointing phenomenon. In preparation.