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Seminar: 10/28 - Johan Wagemans, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

11:00 to 12:30 PM      at:  5101 Tolman Hall

Irvin Rock Memorial Lecture: Linking low-, mid- and high-level vision

Perceptual grouping, figure-ground organization, shape detection and object recognition are all tasks the visual system can do. In real life outside the lab, these processes are supposed to operate as components of our visual system’s normal way of processing the incoming information in support of our visually guided everyday activities. In the lab, however, these tasks are frequently studied with different types of stimuli because specific experimental paradigms have been developed in different research traditions. As a result, progress in understanding their interactions has been limited so far. We have been developing a set of stimuli and tasks that is more suitable to address issues regarding the interplay between different component processes. Specifically, we have used Gabor arrays derived from outlines of everyday objects and similar shapes in a more systematic, long-term research program. I will present a brief overview of several lines of on-going research to illustrate the variety of experimental paradigms as well as the potential benefits of a more integrative approach. The ultimate goal of this line of work is to try to grasp the interplay between the different component processes in the visual system, linking low-, mid- and high-levels of processing. By taking this route, we pay tribute to Irving Rock’s ambition to rethink the role of perceptual organization and, more generally, to understand the logic of perception.