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Seminar Abstract

Towards a new understanding of object perception.

Speaker : Professor Mary Peterson, Department of Psychology, Univeristy of Arizona, USA.
Date : 2nd of May 2017, 4:00PM until 5:00PM
Location : G33, Bayliss Building, The University Western Australia.

    Visual perception was long understood as a serial feedforward process in which, at a very early stage of processing, borders between regions in the visual input were assigned as bounding contours to the region on one side; this constituted object detection (aka figure assignment). The other region, lacking a shaping contour, was perceived as a locally shapeless ground to the object. On this feedforward view, object memories and semantics were accessed only after object detection occurred and only for objects ("figures"), not for grounds. Research in my laboratory shows that this traditional view is incorrect, and favors the alternative view that before object detection, a fast pass of processing activates multiple possible object hypotheses that could fit both sides of borders. These hypotheses compete for perception at high (e.g., perirhinal cortex of the MTL) and low (V1 and V2) levels of the visual hierarchy. The winner is detected/perceived; the loser is suppressed. In my talk, I will review some history and then summarize six recent experiments consistent with the view that object detection occurs via hierarchical Bayesian inference.

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    Email : ccd@mq.edu.au
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