Damasio’s ‘Image’

Damasio uses “image” to refer to the data format that the brain uses to capture sensory input, and perhaps the outcomes of mental processing. Study this picture closely for a few seconds and then use your browser’s back button to come back to this page. You will see an array of colors. Go again to the same page and consider whether there any changes. Many people will not notice the changes. Go to the page and do a reload several times. The layout of the colors is random each time. My brain captures the essence of image—a rectangular array of colors including their names—and not much else. I speculate that evolution has found that detailed information is accessible in the real world and thus need not be captured. This coding of information is sort of like semantic compression.

This page was inspired by a coffee table book that invited the reader to study a page with such an image with just a few rectangles, turn the page, where there was the question: “where was the red square”. While looking at the page it seemed impossible that there was anything unrecorded in my head. I do not recall the title of the book.