Human vision is determined based on information theory

Alfonso Delgado-Bonal, Javier Martín-Torres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


It is commonly accepted that the evolution of the human eye has been driven by the maximum intensity of the radiation emitted by the Sun. However, the interpretation of the surrounding environment is constrained not only by the amount of energy received but also by the information content of the radiation. Information is related to entropy rather than energy. The human brain follows Bayesian statistical inference for the interpretation of visual space. The maximization of information occurs in the process of maximizing the entropy. Here, we show that the photopic and scotopic vision absorption peaks in humans are determined not only by the intensity but also by the entropy of radiation. We suggest that through the course of evolution, the human eye has not adapted only to the maximum intensity or to the maximum information but to the optimal wavelength for obtaining information. On Earth, the optimal wavelengths for photopic and scotopic vision are 555 nm and 508 nm, respectively, as inferred experimentally. These optimal wavelengths are determined by the temperature of the star (in this case, the Sun) and by the atmospheric composition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number36038
JournalScientific reports
Publication statusPublished - Nov 3 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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