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Shannon's rate-distortion function provides a potentially useful lower bound against which to compare the rate-versus-distortion performance of practical encoding-transmission systems. However, this bound is not applicable unless one can arrive at a numerically-valued measure of distortion which is in reasonable correspondence with the subjective evaluation of the observer or interpreter. We have attempted to investigate this choice of distortion measure for monochrome still images. This investigation has considered a class of distortion measures for which it is possible to simulate the optimum (in a rate-distortion sense) encoding. Such simulation was performed at a fixed rate for various measures in the class and the results compared subjectively by observers. For several choices of transmission rate and original images, one distortion measure was fairly consistently rated as yielding the most satisfactory appearing encoded images.