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Paper   IPM / Biological / 15742
School of Biological Sciences
  Title:   Object Categorization in Finer Levels Relies More on Higher Spatial Frequencies and Takes Longer
1 . Matin Ashtiani
2 . Saeed Kheradpisheh
3 . Timothée Masquelier
4 . Mohammad Ganjtabesh
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Frontiers in Psychology
  Vol.:  8
  Year:  2017
  Pages:   1261 ( https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01261)
  Supported by:  IPM
The human visual system contains a hierarchical sequence of modules that take part in visual perception at different levels of abstraction, i.e., superordinate, basic, and subordinate levels. One important question is to identify the �??entry�?� level at which the visual representation is commenced in the process of object recognition. For a long time, it was believed that the basic level had a temporal advantage over two others. This claim has been challenged recently. Here we used a series of psychophysics experiments, based on a rapid presentation paradigm, as well as two computational models, with bandpass filtered images of five object classes to study the processing order of the categorization levels. In these experiments, we investigated the type of visual information required for categorizing objects in each level by varying the spatial frequency bands of the input image. The results of our psychophysics experiments and computational models are consistent. They indicate that the different spatial frequency information had different effects on object categorization in each level. In the absence of high frequency information, subordinate and basic level categorization are performed less accurately, while the superordinate level is performed well. This means that low frequency information is sufficient for superordinate level, but not for the basic and subordinate levels. These finer levels rely more on high frequency information, which appears to take longer to be processed, leading to longer reaction times. Finally, to avoid the ceiling effect, we evaluated the robustness of the results by adding different amounts of noise to the input images and repeating the experiments. As expected, the categorization accuracy decreased and the reaction time increased significantly, but the trends were the same. This shows that our results are not due to a ceiling effect. The compatibility between our psychophysical and computational results suggests that the temporal advantage of the superordinate (resp. basic) level to basic (resp. subordinate) level is mainly due to the computational constraints (the visual system processes higher spatial frequencies more slowly, and categorization in finer levels depends more on these higher spatial frequencies).
Received: 29 March 2017; Accepted: 11 July 2017; Published: 25 July 2017.

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