Top Cogn Sci. 2012 Apr ;4 (2):306-29 22496108
School of Informatics, Informatics Forum, University of Edinburgh, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB, Scotland. email@example.com
This paper presents two cognitive models that simulate the production of referring expressions in the iMAP task-a task-oriented dialog. One general model is based on Dale and Reiter's (1995)incremental algorithm, and the other is a simple template model that has a higher correlation with the data but is specifically geared toward the properties of the iMAP task. The property of the iMAP task environment that is modeled here is that the color feature is unreliable for identifying referents while other features are reliable. The low computational cost of the incremental algorithm for generating referring expressions makes it an interesting starting point for a cognitive model. However, its explanatory power is limited, because it generates uniquely distinguishing referring expressions and because it considers features for inclusion in the referring expression in a fixed order. The first model extends the original incremental algorithm by an ability to adapt to feedback of whether a referring expression was used successfully, but it seems to overpredict the frequency with which distinguishing expressions are made and underpredict the frequency of overspecified referring expressions. The second model produces features for referring expressions purely based on its current estimate of a feature's utility. Both models predict the observed human behavior of decreasing use of color terms and increasing use of useful feature terms.
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The effect of temporal discontinuity on visual search was assessed by presenting a display in which one item had an abrupt onset, while other items were introduced by gradually removing line segments that camouflaged them. We hypothesized that an abrupt onset in a visual display would capture visual attention, giving this item a processing advantage over items lacking an abrupt leading edge. This prediction was confirmed in Experiment 1. We designed a second experiment to ensure that this finding was due to attentional factors rather than to sensory or perceptual ones. Experiment 3 replicated Experiment 1 and demonstrated that the procedure used to avoid abrupt onset--camouflage removal--did not require a gradual waveform. Implications of these findings for theories of attention are discussed.
TNO Institute for Perception, Soesterberg, The Netherlands.
Three visual-search experiments tested whether the preattentive parallel stage can selectively guide the attentive stage to a particular known-to-be-relevant target feature. Subjects searched multielement displays for a salient green circle that had a unique form when surrounded by green nontarget squares or had a unique color when surrounded by red nontarget circles. In the distractor conditions, a salient item in the other dimension was present as well. As an extension of earlier findings (Theeuwes, 1991), the results showed that complete top-down selectivity toward a particular feature was not possible, not even after extended and consistent practice. The results reveal that selectivity depends on the relative discriminability of the stimulus dimensions: the presence of an irrelevant item with a unique color interferes with parallel search for a unique form, and vice versa.
Neural dynamics of form perception: boundary completion, illusory figures, and neon color spreading.
Unité INSERM 334, IFR 49, Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, CEA/DSV, 4 Place du Général Leclerc, 91401 Orsay cedex, France. firstname.lastname@example.org
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potentials (ERPs) to visualize the cerebral processing of unseen masked words. Within the areas associated with conscious reading, masked words activated left extrastriate, fusiform and precentral areas. Furthermore, masked words reduced the amount of activation evoked by a subsequent conscious presentation of the same word. In the left fusiform gyrus, this repetition suppression phenomenon was independent of whether the prime and target shared the same case, indicating that case-independent information about letter strings was extracted unconsciously. In comparison to an unmasked situation, however, the activation evoked by masked words was drastically reduced and was undetectable in prefrontal and parietal areas, correlating with participants' inability to report the masked words.
More than 20 years ago, Tanner [Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 89, 752 (1961)] noted that observers asked to detect a signal act as though they are uncertain about the physical characteristics of the signal to be detected. The popular assumptions of probability summation and decision variable, taken together, imply this uncertainty. This paper defines and uncertainty model of visual detection that assumes that the observer is uncertain among many signals and chooses the likeliest. With only four parameters, the uncertainty model explains why d' is approximately a power function of contrast ("nonlinear transduction") and accurately predicts effects of summation, facilitation, noise, subjective criterion, and task for near-threshold contrast. Thus the uncertainty model offers a synthesis of much of our current understanding of visual contrast detection and discrimination.
Role of inhibition in the specification of orientation selectivity of cells in the cat striate cortex.
Department of Electrical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37235.
Mechanisms supporting orientation selectivity of cat striate cortical cells were studied by stimulation with two superimposed sine-wave gratings of different orientations. One grating (base) generated a discharge of known amplitude which could be modified by the second grating (mask). Masks presented at nonoptimal orientations usually reduced the base-generated response, but the degree of reduction varied widely between cells. Cells with narrow orientation tuning tended to be more susceptible to mask presence than broadly tuned cells; similarly, simple cells generally showed more response reduction than did complex cells. The base and mask stimuli were drifted at different temporal frequencies which, in simple cells, permitted the identification of individual response components from each stimulus. This revealed that the reduction of the base response by the mask usually did not vary regularly with mask orientation, although response facilitation from the mask was orientation selective. In some sharply tuned simple cells, response reduction had clear local maxima near the limits of the cell's orientation-tuning function. Response reduction resulted from a nearly pure rightward shift of the response versus log contrast function. The lowest mask contrast yielding reduction was within 0.1-0.3 log unit of the lowest contrast effective for excitation. The temporal-frequency bandpass of the response-reduction mechanism resembled that of most cortical cells. The spatial-frequency bandpass was much broader than is typical for single cortical cells, spanning essentially the entire visual range of the cat. These findings are compatible with a model in which weak intrinsic orientation-selective excitation is enhanced in two stages:(1) control of threshold by nonorientation-selective inhibition that is continuously dependent on stimulus contrast; and (2) in the more narrowly tuned cells, orientation-selective inhibition that has local maxima serving to increase the slope of the orientation-tuning function.
On peripheral and central processes in vision: inferences from an information-processing analysis of masking with patterned stimuli.
Department of Psychology, Swarthmore College, PA 19081.
We describe a new theory explaining the perception of partly occluded objects and illusory figures, from both static and kinematic information, in a unified framework. Three ideas guide our approach. First, perception of partly occluded objects, perception of illusory figures, and some other object perception phenomena derive from a single boundary interpolation process. These phenomena differ only in respects that are not part of the unit formation process, such as the depth placement of units formed. Second, unit formation from static and kinematic information can be treated in the same general framework. Third, spatial and spatiotemporal discontinuities in the boundaries of optically projected areas are fundamental to the unit formation process. Consistent with these ideas, we develop a detailed theory of unit formation that accounts for most cases of boundary perception in the absence of local physical specification. According to this theory, discontinuities in the first derivative of projected edges are initiating conditions for unit formation. A formal notion of relatability is defined, specifying which physically given edges leading into discontinuities can be connected to others by interpolated edges. Intuitively, relatability requires that two edges be connectable by a smooth, monotonic curve. The roots of the discontinuity and relatability notions in ecological constraints on object perception are discussed. Finally, we elaborate our approach by discussing related issues, some new phenomena, connections to other approaches, and issues for future research.
Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6196, USA.
There is growing evidence that face recognition is "special" but less certainty concerning the way in which it is special. The authors review and compare previous proposals and their own more recent hypothesis, that faces are recognized "holistically"(i.e., using relatively less part decomposition than other types of objects). This hypothesis, which can account for a variety of data from experiments on face memory, was tested with 4 new experiments on face perception. A selective attention paradigm and a masking paradigm were used to compare the perception of faces with the perception of inverted faces, words, and houses. Evidence was found of relatively less part-based shape representation for faces. The literatures on machine vision and single unit recording in monkey temporal cortex are also reviewed for converging evidence on face representation. The neuropsychological literature is reviewed for-evidence on the question of whether face representation differs in degree or kind from the representation of other types of objects.