Background information

At any one moment, we have the impression that we can see the entire world in front of us in full clarity, with great sharpness and in colour.

But that's not true at all. The impression of a high-acuity entire visual world in front of us is, to a large extent, created by the fact that our eyes are constantly moving (on average 3 times every second) and that our brain then "stitches together" the images seen at each movement point to produce a snapshot of the world. It's like taking a sequence of separate overlapping high-quality images of the world in front of you and then using software to stitch these separate images together to obtain a high-quality panoramic view, as in the image below:

A morning panorama view of Mount Bromo and the surrounding valleys and landscape, showing mountains covered trees and dressed in clouds that seem to stretch on forever

"Morning Panorama view of Mount Bromo and Surrounding" by Zexsen Xie, licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original

In reality, visual acuity decreases rapidly away from the fovea and, at any one moment, sufficient detail to read a sign or to identify a person by facial features is only captured within a narrow zone around the part of the scene we fixate (that is, the part of the visual world that falls on the fovea).

This simulation allows you to look around anywhere in the 360 degree scene by dragging your cursor or rotating your device (if supported). Note that each entry into the simulation will show you a different image.

Click below to enter the simulation:

Enter perception simulation