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The science of spotting


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‘Camouflage breakers’ can find a target in less than a second

Apparently some people have a natural ability to spot when something is not natural, and most others can be trained to.

"After looking for just one-twentieth of a second, experts in camouflage breaking can accurately detect not only that something is hidden in a scene, but precisely identify the camouflaged target...
...He notes that even with his training, some people are better at breaking camouflage than others — he says he is really bad at it — and why remains mostly a mystery and another learning point for Hegdé and his colleagues."

https://jagwire.augusta.edu/camouflage-breakers-can-find-a-target-in-less-than-a-second/

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2 hours ago, Freyberg said:

Apparently some people have a natural ability to spot when something is not natural

True the best way is doing some camouflaging yourself. Sometimes it is too good, it is a poker game. Make a false hide is often a ruse to conceal the real one. Bird photography birds have better eyesight than us if they don't spot you nobody will. Also, they are a giveaway. Their absence makes a human observer wary.  Lots of things we can't model in CM just give troops Veteran level or above. 

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If you want to understand optical camouflage a few courses in cognitive science is very useful.  The brain is quite slow at math, but a massive parallel computer of pattern recognition.

In general, most of what we think we are seeing is filled in (or in computer speak back filed by our brains) as our eyes have a very small field of regard.  There are a ton of great psych experiments on this.  So, it stands to reason that the brain can catch something out of place very fast.

A child shown monkey faces and human faces at right age will be able to differentiate individual monkey as well as people.  But skill will be lost if not reinforced over time.  The problem with adults is that we need to learn many things like foreign languages where as during certain periods during child cognitive development the brain is very plastic and does so naturally --- like age 3 for language and grammar acquisition.

Although it would be unethical having 5 year olds scanning for targets with your tank's periscope, it would probably be very effective.  :)

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Another direction to approach the understanding of camouflage is offered by the differing perceptions of those with atypical colour vision (full disclosure: including myself). The only scientific paper direct link I could find with a swift Google was this one:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1354367/

In essence, some camo schemes may be less (or even completely in-) effective in concealing things from people (mostly men) with "deficient" colour vision. Google throws up lots of anecdotal stuff, and old papers that I'm not sure are very peer-reviewed.

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4 minutes ago, womble said:

Another direction to approach the understanding of camouflage is offered by the differing perceptions of those with atypical colour vision (full disclosure: including myself). The only scientific paper direct link I could find with a swift Google was this one:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1354367/

In essence, some camo schemes may be less (or even completely in-) effective in concealing things from people (mostly men) with "deficient" colour vision. Google throws up lots of anecdotal stuff, and old papers that I'm not sure are very peer-reviewed.

I've a mate who is an ex RM sniper and he's colour blind. And was rather effective at his job.

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There is no reason why he should not have been.  He was born that way; not a late life accident.  His brain compensated, and he might be even quicker to notice branches not bent by the wind or turned towards the Sun, because he is more focused on angular information than pattern information.

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43 minutes ago, markshot said:

There is no reason why he should not have been.  He was born that way; not a late life accident.  His brain compensated, and he might be even quicker to notice branches not bent by the wind or turned towards the Sun, because he is more focused on angular information than pattern information.

For sure. As long as friendlies did not wear red or green ;)

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On 6/14/2021 at 6:50 PM, George MC said:

I've a mate who is an ex RM sniper and he's colour blind. And was rather effective at his job.

Yup, I've been colour blind my entire adult life, to the point where my wife doesn't let me shop for my own clothes. I also have to double check with coworkers on my choice of Powerpoint schemes for presentations, especially greens and oranges.

... But I'm also very good at spotting animals in woodlands, as a few whitetails have learned the hard way when I'm carrying my SMLE. I can pick them out even peripherally, while driving at speed down a highway.

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8 hours ago, LongLeftFlank said:

...colour blind my entire adult life, to the point where my wife doesn't let me shop for my own clothes....

I wear a lot of "black with one coloured thing"... I owned a nice pale grey t-shirt for a very long time, before someone commented that I must be secure in my sexuality to wear it. It was pale pink.

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