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 Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

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: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>