Natural and Pseudo-natural Tasks
To facilitate experimental design in the laboratory, an artificial task may be designed so that the system's performance in the task may be studied. If the task is too artificial, the system may be pushed away from a natural mode of operation. Depending on the goals of the experiment, this may diminish its external validity.
In such cases, it may be important to keep the system operating naturally (or almost naturally) by designing a pseudo-natural task. Such tasks are still artificial, but they attempt to mimic the natural demands placed on a system. For example, the task might employ stimuli that resemble natural scenes and might test the system's ability to make potentially useful judgments about these stimuli.
Natural scene statistics are the basis for calculating ideal performance in natural and pseudo-natural tasks. This calculation tends to incorporate elements of signal detection theory, information theory, or estimation theory.
Read more about this topic: Ideal Observer Analysis
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