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What is Perceptual Informatics?

Perceptual informatics concerns the process of acquiring, selecting, interpreting, and organising sensory information. Our work is informed by:

  • Mathematics
  • Electronics
  • Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology.

Thus perceptual informatics draws on many different disciplines with their own methodologies and perspectives, bringing together a common scientific paradigm, common engineering methods and a pervasive route from sensation to choice behaviour, technological development and practical application.

Perception

Perception is one of the oldest fields within scientific psychology, and there are correspondingly many theories about its underlying processes. One of the oldest quantitative laws in psychology is Weber’s law (1834), which says that the smallest change in a natural stimulus intensity that we can perceive is proportional to the original intensity.

Informatics

Informatics includes the science of information, the practice of information processing, and the engineering of information systems. Informatics concerns the architecture, functioning, and interactions of natural and artificial systems that store, process and communicate information. Since computers, individuals and organisations all process information, informatics has computational, cognitive and social aspects.

Understanding informational phenomena

Understanding informational phenomena - such as sensory computation, perceptual cognition, and communication - enables technological advances. In turn, technological progress prompts scientific enquiry. The science of psychophysics and the engineering of information systems develop hand-in-hand. Perceptual Informatics is the emerging discipline that combines the two.

Research within Perceptual Informatics

Research within PI involves studies conducted from both pure and applied perspectives. For example, our pure work with comparative judgments - the sensation weighting principles behind them and the systematic errors that result - is helping to develop new ways of assessing; neuropsychological insult; risk, both financial and physical; and aesthetic preference.