Pelli Lab

Published Papers

[See my blog for other projects—mostly beyond journals—including field trips and a workshop.]
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These three articles appear in the top twenty list at the Journal of Vision for highest demand factor (downloads/day).
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Google Citations. Highly recommended. (Google Scholar. Obsolete.)
JOV index? I have been cited 354 times by articles in Journal of Vision, more than any other Journal-of-Vision author (first out of 2073).
Abstracts? Click here for a pretty PubMed list of abstracts formatted by BioMed Central, sorted chronologically, (or here for the ugly PubMed listing).

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Raghavan, M., and Pelli, D.G. (in prep.) Photon and cortical noises limit what we see. To be submitted to Nature.  
  Pelli, D.G.,and Famira, H. (in prep.) Artists look, scientists measure: A type designer and a vision researcher discuss legibility. To be submitted to Vision Research.  
  Rosen, S. and Pelli, D.G. (in prep) A review of grouping and crowding reveals a ubiquitous bottleneck in object recognition. To be submitted to Nature.  
  Strappini, F., Pelli, D.G., Di Pace, E., and Martelli, M.L. (in prep) Agnosic vision is crowded. To be submitted to Cortex.  
  Song, S., Levi, D.M., and Pelli, D.G. (2014) A double dissociation of the acuity and crowding limits to letter identification, and the promise of improved visual screening. Journal of Vision. In press. pdf
  Pelli, D. G., (2013) Q & A. Current Biology 23 (12): R508–R509. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.04.078 pdf
  Pelli, D. G., and Bex, P. (2013) Measuring contrast sensitivity. Special Issue on Testing Vision, Vision Research. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2013.04.015. PMC3744596. pdf
funnel Pelli, D. G., and Cavanagh, P. (2013) Object recognition: Visual crowding from a distance. Current Biology 23(11): R478 - R479. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.04.022 pdf
funnel Dubois, M., Poeppel, D., and Pelli, D. G., (2013) Seeing and hearing a word: Combining eye and ear is more efficient than combining the parts of a word. PLoS ONE 8(5): e64803. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0064803. PMC3667182. pdf
Suchow, J. W., & Pelli, D. G. (2013). Learning to detect and combine the features of an object. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,110(2), 785-790. Published online before print. doi:10.1073/pnas.1218438110. PMC3545750.
Early publication online:

  Pelli, D. G., and Rosen, S. (2013) International PCT Patent Application No PCT/US12/61099 filed October 19, 2012 entitled “Reducing Visual Crowding, Increasing Attention and Improving Visual Span”  
dancers [This is a dance, partly based on a 2008 paper that appears below.] “The Brodmann areas,” a new ballet by Julia Gleich, was performed April 12-15, 2012 at the Center for Performance Research, in the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. I have been collaborating with Julia Gleich, the choreographer. Five minutes of this ballet are meant to be seen out of the corner of your eye. That part is based on my research on peripheral vision. It’s eerily beautiful. The ballet is favorably reviewed in the The New Criterion (May, 2012).
Photo-essay of “The Brodmann areas” by painter EJ Hauser:

You can see the "Crowding" section (5 min.) of the ballet here:
Choreography: Julia K. Gleich. Design: Tamara Gonzales. Dancers: Jace Coronado, Morgan McEwan, Abbey Roesner, Michelle Buckley, and Dylan Crossman. Music Director: Ryan Francis. Produced by Norte Maar. Raw footage by Dancing Camera.
  Pelli, D.G., Chung, S.S.L., Legge, G.E., (2012) Theories of reading should predict reading speed. Commentary on “Towards a universal model of reading” Behavioral and Brain Sciences, doi:10.1017/S0140525X12000325. PMC3579520. pdf
wiggled letter Freeman, J., Chakravarthi, R., and Pelli, D. G., (2012) Substitution and pooling in crowding. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics 74(2): 379-396. PMC3283763. Cited by 2.
wiggled letter

Chakravarthi, R., and Pelli, D. G., (2011) The same binding in contour integration and crowding. Journal of Vision. 11(8):10, 1-12. doi:10.1167/11.8.10. PMC3624759. Cited by 4.

Pelli, D. G., & Farell, B. (2010). Psychophysical methods. In M. Bass, C. DeCusatis, J. Enoch, V. Lakshminarayanan, G. Li, C. MacDonald, V. Mahajan & E. V. Stryland (Eds.), Handbook of Optics, Third Edition, Volume III: Vision and Vision Optics (pp. 3.1-3.12). New York: McGraw-Hill. Reprinted from the second edition, Pelli & Farell (1995). Cited by 25.

blue starsilver starssilver starssilver starssilver starssilver starssilver starssilver starssilver starssilver starssilver starssilver starsPelli, D. G., and Bigelow, C. (2009) A writing revolution. Seed: Science is Culture. NIHMS165118.
Reply to comments.
Methods and sources. Graphs of data and regression.
• Visitors: 14,500 unique page views, according to Google Analytics.
• Incoming web links (1000+ full-length and 233 shortened) from tweets, blogs, etc.
Kuntz, T., et al. (2009) A writing revolution. New York Times Week in Review. October 22, 2009.
atlantic Sullivan, A. (2009) We are all authors now (and publishers too). The Atlantic. November 7, 2009.
PBS Sasaki, D. (2009) Changes in media over the past 550 years. PBS Idea Lab. November 14, 2009.
The graph (left) is reprinted in two textbooks:
Norton Andrea Lunsford, et al. (2012) Everyone's an Author, Norton, New York.
Norton Andrea Lunsford, et al. (2012) Everyone's an Author with Readings, Norton, New York.

Pelli, D. G., Majaj, N. J., Raizman, N., Christian, C. J., Kim, E., and Palomares, M. C., (2009) Grouping in object recognition: The role of a Gestalt law in letter identification. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 26(1):36-49. doi:10.1080/13546800802550134. PMC2679997. Cited by 16.
• This special issue of Cognitive Neuropsychology is also available as a book.
starpartyPelli, D. G., & Tillman, K. A. (2008) The uncrowded window of object recognition. Nature Neuroscience, 11(10):1129 - 1135. PMC2772078. Cited by 119.
• We recommend the Supplement. We worked as hard on it as on the Perspective, and it's got several good demos.

News reports: Yahoo!, Florida Statesman, Detroit Star, Eureka! Science News, EurekAlert!, Science Daily, Science Codex, First Science News, The FontFeed, Medical News Today, ePsychology, PhysOrg, Science Forums, Yahoo! News India, Washington Square News, NYU Today
Complete perspective and supplement:
Pelli, D. G. (2008). Crowding: a cortical constraint on object recognition. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 18, 445–451. [PubMed] doi:10.1016/j.conb.2008.09.008. PMC3624758. Cited by 52.
  Symposium: Pelli, D. G. (2008) Crowding. Satellite symposium at the annual meeting of the Vision Sciences Society, Naples, Florida, May 9, 2008.  
icon partyFreeman, J., & Pelli, D. G. (2007) An escape from crowding. Journal of Vision, 7(2):22, 1-14, doi:10.1167/7.2.22. PMID18217837. Cited by 12. pdf
icon partyLevi, D. M., Song, S., & Pelli, D. G. (2007) Amblyopic reading is crowded. Journal of Vision, 7(2):21, 1-17, doi:10.1167/7.2.21. PMID18217836. Cited by 39. pdf
Special issue: Pelli, D. G., Cavanagh, P., Desimone, R., Tjan, B., & Treisman, A. (2007). Crowding: Including illusory conjunctions, surround suppression, and attention. Journal of Vision, 7(2):i, 1, Cited by 47
News reports: NYU Press release,
icon star partyPelli, D. G., Tillman, K. A., Freeman, J., Su, M., Berger, T. D., & Majaj, N. J. (2007) Crowding and eccentricity determine reading rate. Journal of Vision, 7(2):20, 1-36, doi:10.1167/7.2.20. PMID18217835. Cited by 99. pdf
icon partyPelli, D. G., & Tillman, K. A. (2007) Parts, wholes, and context in reading: A triple dissociation. PLoS ONE 2(8): e680. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000680. PMC1924878. Cited by 28.
News reports: WNYC Morning Edition public radio broadcast and article about “phonics” with interview of Pelli regarding Pelli & Tillman 2007.
Scientific American, BoingBoing, British Psychological Society, NYU Today
  Eaton, K. A., Pelli, D. G., & Levi, D. M. (submitted) Efficacy of the Pelli-Levi Dual Acuity Chart in diagnosing amblyopia. pdf
News report: "Fade to Gray: California Tries New Eye Test," All things considered, National Public Radio, NPR, June 1, 2007, radio interview with Ian Bailey discussing use of Pelli-Robson contrast sensitivity chart by California Department of Motor Vehicles to assess vision of drivers. listen
jpg Oruç, I., Landy, M. S., & Pelli, D. G. (2006) Noise masking reveals channels for second-order letters. Vision Research, 46, 1493–1506. [PubMed] Cited by 15. pdf
Pelli, D. G., Burns, C. W., Farell, B., & Moore-Page, D. C. (2006) Feature detection and letter identification. Vision Research, 46(28), 4646-4674. [PubMed] Working title was “Identifying letters”. Cited by 176. pdf
Martelli, M., Majaj, N. J., & Pelli, D. G. (2005) Are faces processed like words? A diagnostic test for recognition by parts. Journal of Vision, 5(1), 58-70,
[34th most highly cited article in Journal of Vision as of February 1, 2011.] Cited by 115.
News reports: TIME Magazine: The eyes (and brain) of the beholder. (3/21/05). Science Daily. The Local Papers [pdf].  
book Pelli, D. G. (2005). What is observation? James Turrell's skyspace at PS1. [¿Qué significa observar? El Skyspace de James Turrell en PS1 Contemporary Art Center.] In A. M. Torres, James Turrell. Valencia, Spain: Institut Valencia d'Art Modern (IVAM). ISBN 8448239520. Catalog of an exhibition held at IVAM, Valencia, 14 Dec. 2004-27 Feb. 2005. Cited by 2.
• Epilog: Observing Turrell's skyview at PS1 in 2009.

Reprinted in: NY Arts Magazine, November/December 2005, Vol. 9, No. 11/12.

Pelli, D. G. (2008). James Turrell: Skyspaces. ABOUT Beauty (October 2008).
NY Arts:
Radio: Studio 360, the national public radio show hosted by Kurt Andersen, presented, “Skyspace: Dr. Denis Pelli researches how we read, identify shapes, even why we find art compelling. Once a semester he takes a group of students to see a piece of installation art that he believes will teach them how to be better scientific observers. Laura Starecheski tagged along for the class trip.” Produced by Laura Starecheski. Feb. 9, 2006. Click the headphones (right) to play the audio; you'll need the free RealPlayer.
Pelli, D. G., Palomares, M., & Majaj, N. J. (2004). Crowding is unlike ordinary masking: Distinguishing feature integration from detection. Journal of Vision, 4(12), 1136-1169,
[Third most highly cited article in Journal of Vision as of February 1, 2011.] Cited by 308.
Pelli, D. G., Levi, D. M., & Chung, S. T. L. (2004) Using visual noise to characterize amblyopic letter identification. Journal of Vision, 4, 904-920,
Cited by 39.
logo Pelli, D. G. (2004). The legal memos about torture. Letter to the Editor. New York Times, June 13, 2004. pdf
Talgar, C. P., Pelli, D. G., & Carrasco, M. (2004) Covert attention enhances letter identification without affecting channel tuning. Journal of Vision, 4, 22-31,
Cited by 40.
Berger, T. D., Martelli, M., & Pelli, D. G. (2003) Flicker flutter: Is an illusory event as good as the real thing? Journal of Vision, 3, 406-412,
Cited by 8.
Pelli, D. G., Farell, B., & Moore, D. C. (2003) The remarkable inefficiency of word recognition. Nature, 423, 752-756. [supplement] Cited by 156. pdf
News reports: Nature: news & views. Scientific American: news scan.  
Majaj, N. J., Pelli, D. G., Kurshan, P., & Palomares, M. (2002) The role of spatial frequency channels in letter identification. Vision Research, 42, 1165-1184. Cited by 150. pdf
book Brainard, D. H., Pelli, D. G., & Robson, T. (2002) Display characterization. In: J. Hornak (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Imaging Science and Technology (pp. 172-188): Wiley. [Online test patterns] Cited by 88.
pdf book
  Pelli, D. G., & Carrasco, M. (2002). In P. Lennie, S. B. Van Hemel & National Research Council (Eds.), Visual impairments : determining eligibility for social security benefits. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. book
Pelli, D. G. (2001). 47.1: Invited paper: How we see letters: Implications for making better displays. SID Symposium Digest of Technical Papers, 32(1), 1194-1195. doi:10.1889/1.1831773

book Pelli, D. G. (2001) Review of David Regan’s “Human Perception of Objects” [Book reviews]. Journal of Optometry and Vision Science 78(11):779. [full text]  
Pelli, D., & Radner, J. (2001). Fighting back while preserving our values. Letter to the Editor. New York Times, September 19, 2001. pdf
Reprinted in:
Ecco Press’s anthology Best American Science Writing 2000, edited by James Gleick. book
science cover 
Pelli, D. G. (1999) Close encounters — An artist shows that size affects shape. Science, 285, 844-846. [full text] Cited by 25. pdf
Pelli, D. G. (1999) An artist’s work blurs the lines between art and science. New York Times, August 10, 1999, F5. [full text]  
Radio: Studio 360, the national public radio show hosted by Kurt Andersen, presented, “How Art Works: Denis Pelli, a professor of psychology and neural science at NYU, describes how the grid paintings of Chuck Close led him to a significant neurological discovery.” Produced by Jocelyn Gonzales. 2/3/01 and 4/7/01. Click the headphones (right) to play the audio; you'll need the free RealPlayer.
News reports: Further media coverage of the Pelli (1999) Science article: ABCNEWS.COM, BBC News, BBC Radio 4, 8/6/99, 7:30 PM, Daily Telegraph (London), Financial Times (London), 8/6/99, Le Figaro (Paris), 8/6/99, ScienceNOW, Times (London), Toledo Blade  
  Cavanagh, P., & Kennedy, J. M.; Pelli, D. G., & Palomares, M. (2000) Close encounters: Details veto depth from shadows; Response. Science 287: 2421. (in Letters) Cited by 9. [full text]  
book Farell, B. & Pelli, D. G. (1999) Psychophysical methods, or how to measure a threshold and why. In R. H. S. Carpenter & J. G. Robson (Eds.), Vision Research: A Practical Guide to Laboratory Methods, New York: Oxford University Press. Cited by 34.
pdf book
  starPelli, D. G. & Farell, B. (1999) Why use noise? Journal of the Optical Society of America A, 16, 647-653. Cited by 151. pdf
  Cornelissen, F. W., Pelli, D. G., Farell, B., Huckins, S. C., & Szeverenyi, N. M. (1997) A binocular fiberscope for presenting visual stimuli during fMRI. Spatial Vision, 11 (1), 75-81. Cited by 11. pdf
Pelli, D. G. (1997) Seeing is easy. The Thresholds: Limits of Perception exhibition and Theories of Vision symposium. NY Arts Magazine, (14) [Philadelphia Inquirer]  
  Pelli, D. G. & Torres, A. M. (1997) Thresholds: Limits of perception. New York: NY Arts Magazine.  
News reports: Articles about the exhibition and symposium appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Flam, F., “In the mind’s eye”, 1997, Dec. 1, pp. C1, 4),  in Psychology and the Arts (Ettinger, T., “A symposium and exhibit: visual science / visual art.” Fall 1997), and in the internet science magazine HMS Beagle (Kuzma, S., “Art for science’s sake and science for art’s sake.” 1997, issue 17).  
  Pelli, D. G. (1997) Pixel independence: measuring spatial interactions on a CRT display. Spatial Vision, 10, 443-446. Cited by 81. pdf
  starstarPelli, D. G. (1997) The VideoToolbox software for visual psychophysics: transforming numbers into movies. Spatial Vision, 10, 437-42. [full text] Cited by 2912. pdf
Software: VideoToolbox — A free collection of two hundred C subroutines for Macintosh computers to calibrate and control the computer-display interface, making it possible to create accurately specified visual stimuli. This became the foundation for the Psychophysics Toolbox.  
Pelli, D. G., & Farell, B. (1995) Psychophysical methods. In: M. Bass, E. W. Van Stryland, D. R. Williams, & W. L. Wolfe (Eds.), Handbook of Optics, 2nd ed., I (pp. 29.21-29.13). New York: McGraw-Hill.  Cited by 25.

• Reprinted in 3rd edition, Pelli & Farell (2010).
nature cover
Solomon, J. A., & Pelli, D. G. (1994) The visual filter mediating letter identification. Nature 369, 395-397. [demo]  Cited by 255. pdf
  Verghese, P., & Pelli, D. G. (1994) The scale bandwidth of visual search. Vision Research, 34 (7), 955-962. Cited by 9. pdf
Farell, B., & Pelli, D. G. (1993) Can we attend to large and small at the same time? Vision Research 33, 2757-2772.  Cited by 26. pdf
Verghese, P., & Pelli, D. G. (1992) The information capacity of visual attention. Vision Research 32, 983-995.  Cited by 89. pdf
  Gescheider, G. A., Verrillo, R. T., & Pelli, D. G. (1992) Effects of noise on detection of amplitude increments of sinusoidal vibration of the skin. J Acoust Soc Am, 91 (1), 348-353. [abstract]  Cited by 17. pdf
  Legge, G. E., & Pelli, D. G. (1992) Research directions in low vision. In: National Advisory Eye Council & National Institutes of Health (Eds.), Vision Research—A National Plan: 1992-1996.  
  Pelli, D. G. (1992) The readers' NIH [letter]. Science, 258 (5082), 531. pdf
Pelli, D. G. (1991) Noise in the visual system may be early. In: M. Landy & J. A. Movshon (Eds.), Computational Models of Visual Processing (pp. 147-152). Cambridge: MIT Press.  Cited by 19. pdf book
  Pelli, D. G., & Zhang, L. (1991) Accurate control of contrast on microcomputer displays. Vision Research 31, 1337-1350.  [Cited by 449.] pdf
  Pelli, D. G., & Robson, J. G. (1991) Are letters better than gratings? Clinical Vision Sciences, 6, 409-411.  Cited by 18. pdf
Pelli, D. G. (1990) The quantum efficiency of vision. In: C. Blakemore (Ed.) Vision: Coding and Efficiency (pp. 3-24). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  Cited by 214. pdf book
Pelli, D. G., & Chamberlain, S. C. (1989) The visibility of 350°C black-body radiation by the shrimp Rimicaris exoculata and man. Nature, 337, 460-461.  Cited by 48. pdf
Pelli, D. G., & Hoepner, J. A. (1989) Letters in noise: A visual test chart that “bypasses” the optics. In: Noninvasive Assessment of the Visual System, 1989 Technical Digest Series, 7 (pp. 103-106). Washington, DC: Optical Society of America. pdf
Pelli, D. G., Robson, J. G., & Wilkins, A. J. (1988) The design of a new letter chart for measuring contrast sensitivity. Clinical Vision Sciences 2, 187-199.  Cited by 836. pdf
Chart in museum: The Pelli-Robson Contrast Sensitivity Chart is in the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent design collection.  
News reports:
Syracuse University announced the Pelli-Robson chart as a potential screening device for early detection of eye disease and held press conference, June 1988. The story appeared on national radio and television in U.S. and U.K., on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and in the New York Times, L.A. Times, and London Times, as well as the Times of India, and in New Scientist, GEO, Ophthalmology Today, Reader’s Digest, and Good Housekeeping.  
  Pelli, D. G., & Levi, D. M. (1988) On writing grant proposals: confessions of two grant reviewers. Am J Optom Physiol Opt, 65 (7), 598. pdf
  Barlow, H. B., & Pelli, D. G. (1987) The statistical efficiency of natural and artificial vision. Special issue of the Journal of the Optical Society of America A, Part 1, December, 1987, Part 2, April, 1988. pdf
Pelli, D. G. (1987) The visual requirements of mobility. In: G. C. Woo (Ed.) Low Vision: Principles and Applications (p. 134–146): Springer Verlag.  Cited by 70.

pdf book
  Pelli, D. G. (1987) On the relation between summation and facilitation. Vision Res, 27 (1), 119-23.  Cited by 41. pdf
  Pelli, D. G. (1987) Programming in PostScript: Imaging on paper from a mathematical description. BYTE, 12 (5), 185-202. Cited by 8. pdf
  Relkin, E. M., & Pelli, D. G. (1987) Probe tone thresholds in the auditory nerve measured by two-interval forced-choice procedures. J Acoust Soc Am, 82 (5), 1679-1691. [abstract]  Cited by 50. pdf
  Van Doren, C. L., Pelli, D. G., & Verrillo, R. T. (1987) A device for measuring tactile spatiotemporal sensitivity. J Acoust Soc Am, 81 (6), 1906-1916. [abstract]  Cited by 13. pdf
Movie at museum and on tv:
What is Low Vision? Commissioned to produce and direct video for the Art of the Eye exhibition at the Minnesota Museum of Art, January 25 to March 30, 1986. Shows the general public that low vision may be understood in terms of three optical dimensions: resolution, contrast, and field. Aired nationally on public television on July 20, 1987, in the National Science Foundation’s How About ...? series in an episode entitled “Experiencing Low Vision.” In 1990 Syracuse University distributed this tape to 400 low-vision rehabilitation centers nationwide to explain low vision to patients’ relatives.  
Legge, G. E., Pelli, D. G., Rubin, G. S., & Schleske, M. M. (1985) Psychophysics of reading. I. Normal vision. Vision Research 25, 239-252.  Cited by 424. pdf
  Legge, G. E., Rubin, G. S., Pelli, D. G., & Schleske, M. M. (1985) Psychophysics of reading. II. Low vision. Vision Research, 25, 253-265.  Cited by 314. pdf
  Pelli, D. G., Legge, G. E., & Schleske, M. M. (1985) Psychophysics of reading. III. A fiberscope low-vision reading aid. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 26 (5), 751-63.  Cited by 27. pdf
  pdfpdfpdfpdf Pelli, D. G. (1985) Uncertainty explains many aspects of visual contrast detection and discrimination. Journal of the Optical Society of America A 2, 1508-1532.  Cited by 452. pdf
Watson, A. B. & Pelli, D. G. (1983) QUEST: a Bayesian adaptive psychometric method. Percept Psychophys, 33 (2), 113-20.  Cited by 1025. pdf
Software: QUEST toolbox for MATLAB. Robust easy-to-use implementation of several excellent procedures for estimating threshold. Freely available and quite popular. See software.  
Pelli, D. G. (1981) Effects of visual noise. PhD Thesis, Cambridge University.  Cited by 170. pdf
Campbell, F. W., & Pelli, D. G. (1976) A capillary electrometer [proceedings]. J Physiol (Lond), 263 (1), 64-67. pdf
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