Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Right before Your Eyes: Visual Recognition Begins with Categorization

14.02.2005


Take a moment and look at a picture near you. What did you see? How long did it take you to understand what was in the image, meaning how long did it take you to realize the green blob was a tree? Or that the orange circle was a piece of fruit? Most likely you assume that it took you no time at all, you just knew.



Psychologists who study how we perceive images used to think that, before the process of object recognition and categorization could begin, the brain must first separate the figure in the image—such as a tree, or a piece of fruit—from its background. However, new research shows we actually categorize objects before we identify them. It means that, by the time your brain even realizes you are looking at something, you already know what that thing is.

The new research was conducted by Kalanit Grill-Spector of Stanford University and Nancy Kanwisher of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Their article, "Visual Recognition: As Soon as You Know It’s There, You Know What It Is," will appear in the February 2005 issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society.


In their research, Grill-Spector and Kanwisher tested three types of visual recognition by quickly flashing images before the eyes of research participants. The first type, object detection, was tested by showing images that may or may not have contained figures. Participants had to quickly judge whether or not there was a figure present against the background. The second grouping tested categorization, where participants were shown images of figures and had to state what type of figure they saw, such as bird, car, or food. In the last section of the test, more specific images were shown in order to test identification. Participants had to identify the figures within categories such as parrot or pigeon, versus just the category of "bird." It turned out the participants were as fast and accurate in saying what category an object belonged to as they were at saying whether or not they had seen an object at all. The ability for the subjects to process the images in such a short time proved that by the time they knew an image contained some sort of object, they already knew its general category.

"There are two main processing stages in object recognition: categorization and identification, with identification following categorization," the authors wrote. "Overall, these findings provide important constraints for theories of object recognition."

This built-in human process of rapid categorization before identification restricts the brain’s search for a match between the visual input (the picture you looked at) and an internal representation to category-relevant representations (stored images of other objects you have seen and identified prior to today).

"Future research building on these psychophysical techniques and multimodal imaging techniques will enhance our knowledge about the processes and representations that enable rapid and efficient visual perception," Grill-Spector said. "Rapid categorization obviously facilitates our survival and interaction with the environment on an everyday level."

For more information, contact Grill-Spector at kalanit@psych.stanford.edu. A full copy of the article is available at the APS Media Center at www.psychologicalscience.org/media.

Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. The American Psychological Society represents psychologists advocating science-based research in the public’s interest.

Kalanit Grill-Spector | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org/media

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>