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First impressions: Computer model behaves like humans on visual categorization task

eal-world examples and identify relevant objects in complex scenes. (See http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2007/surveillance.html.) That and other studies from the lab demonstrated that the information processing that occurs during one feed-forward pass through the visual cortex is sufficient for robust object recognition.

The model is thus an appropriate vehicle for testing the behavioral study's no-feedback-necessary theory, while the animal/no animal behavioral test makes a good reality check for the model.

Glimpsing an Animal or Not

To proceed, Serre "trained" the model on only a few hundred animal and non-animal images, a paltry number compared to human visual experience. "This is a very hard task for any artificial vision system," Serre explained. "Animals are extremely varied in shape and size. Snakes, butterflies, and elephants have little in common, and the animals in the image may be lying, standing, flying, or leaping."

The team organized images in different subcategories from full views of an animal head to far views, using single as well as groups of animals. As preliminary model simulations predicted, the task became harder as the relative size of the animal decreased and the amount of clutter (the background scene) increased.

Importantly, the results showed no significant difference between humans and the model. Both had a similar pattern of performance, with well above 90% accuracy for the close views dropping to 74% for distant views. The 16% drop in performance for distant views represents a limitation of the one feed-forward sweep in dealing with clutter, Serre suggested. With more time for cognitive feedback, people would outperform the model because they could focus attention on the target and ignore the clutter.

"We have not solved vision yet," Poggio cautioned, "but this model of immediate recognition may provide the s
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Contact: Laurie Ledeen
ledeen@mit.edu
617-324-0134
McGovern Institute for Brain Research
2-Apr-2007


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