Visual perception and comprehension is a complex issue involving the interaction between a large number of overlapping and interacting factors.
These potentially include: the properties of the item which gives off or reflects the light, the nature and source of the lighting being reflected, the distance from the object and relative motion of the observer, other light sources, the visual acuity of the eyes of the person perceiving events, the presence of other factors potentially affecting the person’s attention, the processing by the brain of the information, and potentially the time taken to react.
As an example of the various issues involved perception may be complicated by the fact that the processing of information may depend upon the familiarity of the person with the image being viewed. For example, an expert fingerprint examiner, being familiar with all potential elements of a fingerprint, will instantly see and perceive and understand details in a fingerprint image which a lay person may never “perceive” unless pointed out. This applies across many areas, so that the perception of an experienced driver for familiar events may be different to that of a novice “L” plate driver.
The concept of perception / reaction time, which is often critical in motor accidents and other cases of alleged negligence, is related to these concepts and involves the question of how long it takes a person’s mind to process the information perceived, to make a decision to act, and to convey that decision to the relevant body part. This issue commonly arises in motor accident cases where the question of how long a person had and also took to see and perceive a pedestrian in front of them and how long to react by applying the breaks will be relevant.
This issue may also overlap with the question of the use of electronic and other images as evidence given the factors that may affect the presentation and so perception of those images.
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Expertise in Action
This is may arise in:
- Motor Vehicle reconstruction
- General accident reconstruction
- Work Health and Safety investigation
- Criminal cases, analysing likely capacity to see an event
For some fields of expertise we have some sample sections of de-identified reports. Please contact our office if you are interested in a sample.
The overall cost of expert opinion depends on the services required. Some of the key factors that affect the cost of advice include:
- The need for a view or inspection of a location
- The quantity of documentary material to be reviewed
- Whether there are reports of other experts to be reviewed and commented on in detail
- Whether there is a need for conferences with the expert either in person or by telephone/Skype