In its evolution, the primate visual system has developed impressive capabilities for recognizing complex patterns in natural images. This process involves many stages of analysis and a variety of information processing strategies. This paper concentrates on the importance of 'information bottlenecks,' which restrict the amount of information that can be handled at different stages of analysis. These steps are crucial for reducing the overwhelming computational complexity associated with recognizing countless objects from arbitrary viewing angles, distances, and perspectives. The process of directed visual attention is an especially important information bottleneck because of its flexibility in determining how information is routed to high-level pattern recognition centers.