In Sparse Components of Images and Optimal Atomic Decompositions by Donoho, 1998, the author claims that

The human visual system is thought to do a tremendous job in achieving sparse representation of image data, taking $10^7$ bits/sec at the periphery of the visual pathway and winnowing it down to about 50 bits/sec deep inside.

Can somebody please point me to the source of that claim, as it is not mentioned in the paper, at least to my knowledge.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Good to ask for such a reference, because these sorts of claims are usually based on some truly silly assumptions when taken too literally. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Dec 5 '19 at 16:07

How about this: https://www.springerprofessional.de/data-compression-and-data-selection-in-human-vision/3218014

The original link in the Abstract referenced (https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2F978-3-642-04954-5_7.pdf) above isn't available anymore, but I found a repository:


I don't think the review is peer reviewed, but maybe you find a reference in there (it's not my field, so I guess you know more on where to look ;-)

She's now in Germany: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Li_Zhaoping

If you don't find anything, maybe you can ask her on researchgate directly.


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