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An introduction is given to a theory of global structure analysis in early visual information processing. The theory relates retinal, visual cortical, retino-collicular, cortico-collicular, and oculomotor mechanisms to specific properties of the (human) visual structure analysis. Information theoretic modeling of the retina, particularly rate distortion theoretic interpretations of the retina-oculomotor system functions reveal both behavior and information processing task optimality. From a structure system point of view these properties bring forth a global structure identification function and its supporting global data systems which extract information from the object system. A general formulation of the structure identification function and its data systems is given in terms of partial correlations of perceptual similarity. The theory has been implemented for dot patterns through a set of computer programs. This computer model determines structureÂ¿perceptually important global features, their "strength," and the pattern regions that give rise to these features. Psychophysical measurements were necessary to set the "human" parameters of the model. Global analysis of visual structure is considered to be essentially a structure segmentation and feature classification task that precedes detailed information extraction. Theory-based interpretation of the functional organization of the sensory, motor, and neurophysiological components of the visual system leads to expectations concerning a scan strategy that directs the retina towards regions of high structure information density.