1. Curious objects: How visual complexity guides attention and engagement.Zekun Sun & Chaz Firestone - 2021 - Cognitive Science: A Multidisciplinary Journal 45 (4):e12933.
    Some things look more complex than others. For example, a crenulate and richly organized leaf may seem more complex than a plain stone. What is the nature of this experience—and why do we have it in the first place? Here, we explore how object complexity serves as an efficiently extracted visual signal that the object merits further exploration. We algorithmically generated a library of geometric shapes and determined their complexity by computing the cumulative surprisal of their internal skeletons—essentially quantifying the (...)
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  2. Seeing and speaking: How verbal 'description length' encodes visual complexity.Zekun Sun & Chaz Firestone - 2021 - Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (1):82-96.
    What is the relationship between complexity in the world and complexity in the mind? Intuitively, increasingly complex objects and events should give rise to increasingly complex mental representations (or perhaps a plateau in complexity after a certain point). However, a counterintuitive possibility with roots in information theory is an inverted U-shaped relationship between the “objective” complexity of some stimulus and the complexity of its mental representation, because excessively complex patterns might be characterized by surprisingly short computational descriptions (e.g., if they (...)
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  3. Optimism and Pessimism in the Predictive Brain.Zekun Sun & Chaz Firestone - 2020 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences (9):683-685.