Human Visual Ecology and Orientation Anisotropies in Acuity

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Science  16 Nov 1973:
Vol. 182, Issue 4113, pp. 729-731
DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4113.729


The visual environment of Cree Indians from the east coast of James Bay, Quebec, is different from that of city-raised Euro-Canadians. So also are their corresponding orientation anisotropies in visual acuity. A Euro-Canadian sample exhibited the usual higher resolution for vertically and horizontally oriented gratings as compared with oblique orientations, while a Cree Indian sample did not. The most parsimonious explanation of these acuity differences is that orientation-specific detectors in humans are tuned by the early visual environment.