Visual Ambiguity Presentation

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Slide 2 Notes

The visual system operates on a set of assumptions or visual cues from the environment that help bring meaning and organization to the images that we perceive visually. In order to better understand the ambiguity between the physical object in the environment and the visual representation of the object in our brain, psychology has proposed several theories. Template theory, feature-matching theories, object-centered theory, and multiple view theory seek to explain the aforementioned discrepancy and how our visual system resolves this problem.   

Slide 3 Notes

All three of these pictures exploit the ambiguity of visual perception. From one perspective these pictures are an old woman with long hair. From another perspective these pictures are a young woman with a choker necklace. The way in which our visual system represents the pixels on this screen to the brain is mediated by memory, cortical processing, and visual cues (Willingham, 2007). Whether our brain stores templates, several or only one, for an old woman and a young woman or we construct the image mentally from basic shapes (geons), it is clear that there is some top-down, cortical processing involved in our perception of this picture. A few psychologists have theorized that a rough sketch of the image is projected straight to the pre-frontal cortex (PFC), which allows the PFC input into the processing in the visual cortex (Bar, 2003). Furthermore, the multiple view theory aspires to incorporate viewer-centered representations and object-centered representations into a coherent theory of visual perception, which incorporates stored templates and top-down, cortical processing. In all, the resolution of visual ambiguity by the visual system is a complex process that includes bottom-up processing, such as visual cues and object-centered representations and top-down processing, such as templates, feature matching, and geons.          

Slide 4 Notes

The template theory works by comparing what we are seeing to images that we have stored in our memories on ‘templates’. If the image that we see matches the template then we know what the object is. The problem with this theory is that it would require a large amount of templates stored in memory and the image that is being seen would have to be identical to an image on the memory templates.

Slide 5 Notes

The template theory works by comparing what we are seeing to images that we have stored in our memories on ‘templates’. If the image that we see matches the template then we know what the object is. The problem with this theory is that it would require a large amount of templates stored in memory and the image that is being seen would have to be identical to an image on the memory templates.

Slide 6 Notes

The template theory works by comparing what we are seeing to images that we have stored in our memories on ‘templates’. If the image that we see matches the template then we know what the object is. The problem with this theory is that it would require a large amount of templates stored in memory and the image that is being seen would have to be identical to an image on the memory templates.

Slide 7 Notes

The template theory works by comparing what we are seeing to images that we have stored in our memories on ‘templates’. If the image that we see matches the template then we know what the object is. The problem with this theory is that it would require a large amount of templates stored in memory and the image that is being seen would have to be identical to an image on the memory templates.

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References

Moshe, B. (2003) A cortical mechanism for triggering top-down facilitation in visual object recognition. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 15(4), 600-609. Retrieved August 2, 2009, from EBSCOHost Database.

Visual perception. (n.d.) Psychology: An International Perspective. Retrieved August 3, 2009, from Psypress Web site: http://www.psypress.com/pip/resources/slp/topic.asp?chapter=ch07&topic=ch07-sc-08

Willingham, D. T. (2007). Cognition: The thinking animal. New York, NY: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Presentation Topic

  • Locate an example of a visual ambiguity or distortion.
  • Prepare an 8- to 12-slide Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation with presenter notes in which you present your example to the rest of the class.
  • Discuss the following:
  • Discuss how the visual system resolves ambiguities by making different types of assumptions and describe these assumptions.
    • Analyze the role of perception in cognitive psychology.
    • Discuss the importance of visual perception in cognitive processes.

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