How many of you think my attempt to ground the term bouma or bouma shape in bounded map has merit? The derivation is based on making the expression bounded map one word and then dropping the nded of bounded and the p of map.
The idea for the derivation was sparked years ago (in a series of early exchanges with Hrant) by encounters with the idea of saliency maps in the perceptual processing literature. The visual cortex is thought to compile saliency maps of stimulus material. So that is what motivated the use of map. The use of bounded is perhaps self-explanatory: word-like clusters of letters are bounded by white space (though the white in the word is part of the map).
The use of bouma that original sparked my interest is contained in Hrant's comment on TYPO_L (early 1999): "According to my lectures in cognitive science, the combined outer *and* inner outlines (but in blurry, para-foveal form) of a word is what we rely on the most; and that’s in fact the bouma."
For Insup Taylor and M. Martin Taylor (Hrant's source), who introduced the term bouma shape in 1983, the term refers principally to a string of numerical coefficients that code distinctiveness when several (though perhaps not enough for my liking) internal measures (like 'the expressedness of the body') beyond the raw pattern of neutral, ascending and descending characters are taken into account.
Peter Saenger appropriated the term from Insup Taylor and M. Martin Taylor to give substance to a notion of "each word a distinct image". The implication being: that's what we rely on. This is a notion consistent with Gerrit Noordzij's views on the history of writing.
Hrant's "but in blurry, parafoveal form" probably has its source in Taylor and Taylor's statement that "[t]ext could in principle, be read when the letters are too small, blurred, or distant to be consistently identified correctly, provided their gross features could be seen. These are the conditions that prevail during parafoveal viewing of words to be foveated at the next or the second following fixation." (But experiments with the effects of 'crowding' (read: visual interference) in the parafovea suggest that if these 'gross features' are the internal features (like 'the expressedness of the body') that underwrite distinctiveness, they can not in fact be 'seen'. This, incidentally, may be what is behind Hrant's more recent emphasis on 'envelope distinctiveness'(Typo#13) (at the expense of *and* (blurry) 'inner outlines') to preserve a notion of recognition in the parafovea)
I suggested in another post that the term bouma is a fitting tribute to a key figure, Herman Bouma. Though Herman Bouma and his associate at the Institute for Perception Research in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Don Bouwhuis, ended up pursuing (with important caveats!) a letter based approach to visual word recognition (involving--like Kevin Larson's model--a perceptual stage and a decisional stage), it was Herman Bouma who said (1973) "word recognition is an event much more complicated than just the combining of a number of recognized consecutive letters." And it was Herman Bouma who also first sensed the contribution of 'visual interference' to the process. (Visual interference is crucial to the binding implied in bounded).
So the question is: does my derivation have merit? The rest is to provide some context.