Pelli et al. (2002) show that efficiency for identifying letters is inversely proportional to their perimetric complexity (perimeter squared over "ink" area). Here we report a much larger effect of complexity in the periphery. Efficiency for simple letters is similar in fovea and periphery, but efficiency for complex letters is a factor of five worse in the periphery (15 deg). The simple letters were either Sloan (a bold sans serif uppercase font, like Helvetica) or " snake" letters made up of colinear gabor patches. The complex letters were either Kuenstler (a fancy lacey uppercase decorative display font such as might appear on a wedding invitation) or snake letters made up of gabor patches orthogonal to the letter stroke.
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