An essential behavior of animals is the visual recognition of objects that are important for their survival. Human activity, for instance, relies heavily on the classification or identification of a large variety of visual objects. We rapidly and effortlessly recognize these objects even when they are encountered in unusual orientations, under different illumination conditions, or partially occluded by other objects in a visually complicated environment. How is this performance accomplished by the brain? What kind of information does the visual system derive from the retinal image to construct 0147-006X/%/0301-0577$08 .OO Annual Reviews www.annualreviews.org/aronline 578 U X f o T H E T I S & SHEINBERG descriptions of sets of object features that capture the invariant properties of objects? How are such descriptions stored, and how are they activated by the viewed object? Are object representations general, or are they specific to an action or to a cognitive process, such as learning, planning, or reasoning? These questions have historically been addressed by scientists in a variety of disciplines, including cognitive psychology (Pinker 1985. Biederman 1987, Banks & Krajicek 1991), neurobiology (Gross 1973, Gross et al 1993, Miyashita 1993, Rolls 1994), neuropsychology (Humphreys & Riddoch 1987a, 1987b; Damasio et
Annual Review of Neuroscience – Annual Reviews
Published: Mar 1, 1996
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