, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 27–40 | Cite as

Object Discernment by “A Difference Which Makes a Difference”

  • Jaime F. Cárdenas-GarcíaEmail author
  • Diego Romero Castro
  • Bruno Soria de Mesa


Gregory Bateson is well known for defining information by stating “In fact what we mean by information – the elementary unit of information – is a difference which makes a difference…” This conceptual perspective has the merit of simplicity and generality. Simplicity, in addressing the complexity of information. Generality, in seeking applicability to any and every field of human experience. The purpose of this paper is to focus the applicability of this conceptual approach by Bateson and use it to perform a calculation of taking the difference between two grey-level digital images that are shifted one relative to the other. The digital images take the place of the field of view that a human being would have access through her sense of vision at two different spatial/temporal instances. The results show that it is possible to highlight the edges of the objects under scrutiny, as well as to highlight other differences within the object. Bateson’s “difference that makes a difference” would seem to provide a first step in the elusive meaning making process of humans.


Gregory Bateson Difference Idea Edge detection Digital image Image processing 



The authors would like to acknowledge the reviewers for their comments and suggestions, which have helped to significantly improve the content of this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaime F. Cárdenas-García
    • 1
    Email author
  • Diego Romero Castro
    • 2
  • Bruno Soria de Mesa
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Maryland – Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Facultad de Jurisprudencia y Ciencias Sociales y PolíticasUniversidad de Guayaquil, Ciudadela Universitaria Salvador AllendeGuayaquilEcuador
  3. 3.Escuela de Medicina, Facultad de Salud Pública, Escuela Superior Politécnica de ChimborazoRiobambaEcuador

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